Disclaimer: I don't own InuYasha or Red River (Anatolia Story); those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi or Chie Shinohara respectively. I'm just borrowing their works in order to entertain the few individuals who will bother to read my attempts at storytelling. I'm not receiving any monetary reward for writing this, and I'm not expecting one.

Summary: Zannanza Hattusili should have died that day in the desert. His fate was changed by a woman who saves him from the sands that threatened to swallow him whole. With the help of this strange woman, the assumed dead prince manages to make it back to his brother's side. Falling for her, the prince is determined to not waste this second chance and get his own happy ending.

Warning(s): This story contains blood, character death (minor and major), dark themes, comical/extreme violence, offensive language, explicit sexual themes, use of alcohol, etc.

Counting Stars in the Red River

[Prologue]: Lately I've Been Losing Sleep

Sōta Higurashi wondered if his older sister would ever find peace.

Having experienced an adventure of a lifetime, it had been no surprise to the shrine family that the young woman would never be satisfied with a normal life. That became even more so true when it became obvious that she had stopped aging after graduating from high school.

Here he was now, a 39-year-old man with a beautiful wife and children but his older sister didn't look a day over 18-years-old. This was something that he and his family had gone through a lot of pain to conceal, as soon people started asking questions.

Kagome, at one point, had even left the country for a few years just after he had entered college and traveled the world looking for something that could take this seemingly agelessness away from her. But when she had returned on his wedding day, looking the exact same as she had when she left, he assumed that her trip had ended in failure.

But something had been different than before, while she physically looked the same, the look in her eyes revealed her true age and experience. Her every move held a certain grace and she prowled across the room like a lioness stalking across the savannah he had watched on one of the documentaries his youngest son loved to watch.

She was far from the cheerful and clumsy girl that he remembered his older sister to be.

Kagome had always been pretty, this he knew from the amount of times he endured his high school friends talking about her and the number of suitors that had once shown up on their doorstep. But now she was something ethereal, something that seemed far beyond the reach of a regular human.

And this more than anything had caused him to feel sorrow for his sister, who had sacrificed her chance at living life with the man she loved in order to make sure that he and everyone else in their time lived in peace.

Now here he was, still in his funeral suit that had become drenched with the cold rain, watching his sister packing the yellow bag. That bag had been one of the only things that survived all those years since she had returned from the Feudal Era bloodied and unconscious. His wife was currently consoling his children, but he had excused himself to check up on his sister who hadn't been allowed to attend their mother's funeral due to many people believing that she had a falling out with them.

'That or an ungrateful girl, who couldn't make time in her schedule to attend her own mother's funeral…there, was a lot of those words being thrown around by some.' Souta scowled at the memory of family members who at one point had pretty much turned their backs on their mother when she needed help after their father's death without so much as a care.

How they now felt as if they had any right criticizing Kagome when they didn't have any idea about her circumstances was beyond him.

"Sōta, how are the little monsters doing?" snapping out of his thoughts at the sound of his sister's voice, his dark eyes trailed up from the open yellow backpack sitting on top of the mattress that had been pushed up against the wall to the side. Kagome was standing there, still dressed in the thin-strapped black dress that she had worn while watching the funeral processions from afar.

She made quite the tragically beautiful picture; her short curvy frame was shown off by the little black dress that clung to her body like a second skin due to the rain. Her hair that once rested playfully at the middle of her back now brushed the back of her knees. But it was her stormy blue eyes set in her pretty face that finished the picture.

There had been many times that even he found himself captured by his sister's beauty as he grew up, and times where he felt that it was his duty to protect her from the world. Not that those thoughts ever lasted long. If there was anything that Kagome was good at, it was asserting her independence from anyone that she felt was smothering her.

Remembering that the petite girl had most likely stood up to beings that could've very well have killed her (Inuyasha being there to protect her or not), usually stopped him from going too far.

"You're leaving then?" he didn't answer her question, and instead decided to ask her one of his own.

Humming, she nodded before turning back to stuff another item into the backpack.

"It was a request from mother, her last words…after everything it is the least I could do." Grabbing the first aid off of the desk next to the bed, she placed it on top of the neatly packed contents of the yellow bag closing it with the clasp and tugging the string until it was taunt to make sure that it stayed closed.

She had wrapped everything in plastic beforehand, as she had no idea where she would end up and it wouldn't due for her supplies to be ruined by any accidents. Making her way over to the closet, she opened it and looked at the one outfit that was hanging in the middle of the almost bare space.

Sighing, Sōta pushed himself away from the frame of her room's door and walked forward.

His sister's back was turned towards him, but he could see the slight tremble in her shoulders. It had been years since his sister had last shed a tear, and that had been when she had been forced home away from his childhood hero, Inuyasha.

Not once had she shed a tear, not even when she realized that she wasn't aging. For years she had held strong, trying to keep a good face up in front of them in order to try and make them worry less.

Now their mother, her biggest supporter, was gone. Away from their reach until death decided to take them.

While Sōta was assured to see his mother again in the future, the same couldn't be said for this woman who had sacrificed the last years she had with her mother in order to find an end to her curse. When their mother had lain on her deathbed, it had broken Kagome's heart that she couldn't tell her mother that she hadn't found a way for herself to live a normal and happy life.

It was only after his mother asked to speak with Kagome alone that he had noticed a change within her.

When she walked outside of the hospital room, she held a look as if she had just been given purpose.

"I don't know how long I will be away, but I will see this through to the end…if something were to happen…" trailing off, Kagome pulled an outfit from the closet by the hanger that was holding it. Closing the closet, she looked into the full length mirror that hung on the back of it. Looking at her brother in the mirror, she took in the resigned look on his face as his gaze to fell to the floor.

Silence fell between them, and Kagome turned to head to look at her brother over her shoulder.

The corners of her lips curled up into a small smile, "Just remember that in the end, this was my choice."

End of Prologue

Yes. I am actually attempting to do an InuYasha/Red River crossover. There apparently seem to be a few crossovers created already, but I was disappointed to see that they haven't been updated in quite a while. Hopefully this will bring some more attention to them, and they will soon be updated. Obviously from my summary, the canon of Red River is about to be changed irrevocably. It always saddened me that Zannanza died. I know that in actual history Zannanza did die, but I don't see why I can't change things. This is, after all, fanfiction.

Either way, I hope that this intrigued you and you will stick around to see how this goes.

Until next time,

Skjálf Frost-Born