Disclaimer: Inu-Yasha and all its characters totally belong to me, and anyone found writing stories about them (except me) will be heavily sued and in debt for the rest of their miserable lives…in my dreams. :-P Of course it belongs to Rumiko Takahashi and whoever's involved with it…they know who they are…
AN: Yay, back with another story! As I've said in the last chapter of A Royal Pain, Mermaid's Tale is on hold because I haven't yet figured out how to get myself out of the mess. I've been working on this story and another for awhile. I've decided to make a resolution! ^_^ No long periods without updating, the longest time a week, except for death, exams (which are coming up), anything school-related, long vacations and computer/internet failure. Although that's like 90% of the time. Anyway, this story is about vampires. And it doesn't have anything to do with Buffy, I swear. And as usual, just before I decided to post this, I go around surfing for fics and find tons about vampires. Damn! Maybe I'm not original enough. L Enough blabbering. I'll update in 2-4 days and try to keep it up. Enjoy the fic!
A Legend To Avenge
It was well into the night when Kaede felt it happen. Her eyes snapped open and her heart beat faster. She lay on her bed for minutes, staring at the darkness. Finally she stood up and crept out of the house, as not to wake her family.
Long minutes passed; she was still standing outside in the cold Tokyo air. Kaede rubbed her palms together and blew into her hands. The chilly wind blew threw her thin nightgown and swept her long black hair away from her neck. Then she looked up and saw a blurry figure rushing towards her in the night.
Kaede wasn't afraid—she knew only one person who was that small and round who could jump great distances at great speed. The blurry figure formed into a person, and Myouga skidded to a stop in front of her.
She looked down at him, her expression flat. "It's happened," she said dully. "They got her, didn't they?"
Myouga, her sister's 'partner-in-crime', harrumphed and tried to look for something to say.
"I knew it." Kaede shook her head. "You should have let me train, then she wouldn't have to deal with all of them herself."
"You know how hard it is to kill vampires, Kaede. They were the top ones, the ones living in the hidden castle. Even if I had let you train, your sister would have refused. Kikyo said—" he looked uncomfortable "—she said at least if she didn't make it, then you would still live."
A tear slid down her cheek. Her sister was truly gone, killed by the vampires she'd been hunting for almost all her life. She'd never believed it would happen—it was well known that young as she was, Kikyo had been one of the greatest vampire killers in all time. "At least did you guys get the vampires?" she asked, half-knowing the answer.
The small man expelled a huge puff of air. "They were so strong, stronger than I remembered," he said, shaking his head. "After Kikyo—after they took her down, there was no hope. We had to flee."
Silence greeted his words. Then Kaede clenched her fists. "I can't let them get away with this. You have to let me train, Myouga! I have to get them for this!"
"There is no way. You would never reach a high enough level to defeat the Inu-kai clan. You must train young." Again, Myouga looked fidgety. "Perhaps we should have trained you. But as I say, Kikyo would have never let that happen."
"But then how to we get them? Kikyo was the greatest. Who could we possibly find that would surpass her?"
"It might take a long while," Myouga said. "But we'll find someone, Kaede. We won't let them get away with it. We'll kill them, no matter how long it takes."
* * *
Well, in Kaede's opinion, she wasn't so sure how much longer it could take. Already in her seventies, she'd spent the last fifty years of her life searching for the 'right' person. Everyone she'd looked at turned out to have some flaw. Every person that left made her angrier—how many more victims had the vampires killed? How much more time would they waste? When would Kikyo's death be avenged?
It was a rainy Tokyo afternoon. She was hobbling her way home, a black umbrella over her head. Passing an alleyway, she heard, through the splashing of rain and the impatient walk of people urgent to get home, the sound of someone sobbing.
Alleyways were no place for an old woman, but they weren't a place for someone to cry, either. Myouga told her of low-class vampires who lurked in alleys. Muttering to herself, Kaede squeezed herself into the tight place. She shivered at the walls of slime. The sobbing grew louder, and finally after a corner she saw a young girl crouched against the wall.
Kaede sighed and approached the girl cautiously. Myouga had also told her of vampire children who loved hunting their unknowing prey this way. "Child, what's the matter?" she asked, still keeping a safe distance.
The girl looked up. Kaede gasped and drew back, her heart pounding. It was like looking into the face of a young Kikyo, but without the passive wisdom her sister held in her eyes. But she could see Kikyo's features, and the glimmer in her eyes showed something, but Kaede couldn't place it. How could she not have seen this girl before, this exact replica of Kikyo?
The girl placed a hand on the collar of her elementary school uniform and drew it downward. Kaede's jaw dropped even further. There, on her neck, were two fresh bite marks of a vampire. She was still bleeding, and the trickles of blood mingled with the rain. "I was walking home from school," she said in a trembling voice. "A man with long black hair stopped me. He bit me on my neck. It hurts." Another sob escaped from her throat. "And my brother's gone. The man took him. He's only three. Mommy's gonna be so mad."
She ran into Kaede's arms. Startled, Kaede drew the girl against her. As she held the small child in her arms, something rushed through her. Maybe, just maybe, after fifty years, this could be the girl. Of course, Myouga would have to look at her first, see if she could truly be the person they were looking for.
"Come with me," she said, standing up and taking the girl's hand in hers. "I'll clean you up then take you home. But first, I want to talk to you about something."
* * *
"What's your name?"
"Kagome Higurashi," the girl said solemnly. "Will you help me find my brother?" Her voice trembled at the mention of her brother.
Kaede and Myouga glanced at each other. They were sitting beside each other in Myouga's training dojo. It wasn't a normal dojo—the weapons storage room had stakes instead of swords. "We have to know about the man who bit you," Kaede said. "Tell us about him."
The girl paused. "He was tall. He had long, kinda curly black hair, and he dressed really fancy. That's all I know." Her hand went up to her neck, where Kaede had bandaged the bite marks earlier.
Myouga nudged Kaede's elbow. "How is she standing?" he muttered in a low voice. "She was just bitten by a vampire, and by the looks of her complexion, bitten severely. She should either be dead or a vampire."
Kaede was nodding. "Could she be fighting it somehow? Perhaps, finally, our time to wait has ended?"
"Wait, there is a way to find out." Myouga reached over to the girl. "Excuse me, Kagome-chan, mind if I see your neck?" The girl tilted her head obediently. Myouga touched her wound with a finger and dabbed at some of her blood. Then he stuck his finger in his mouth.
Kaede made a face, but it changed to a startled look when Myouga reeled back as if he'd been stung. Already he was sweating, and his breathing became ragged. "The vampire that bit her was strong," he rasped out. "Anyone bitten by this vampire would be dead before you arrived. And yet I can also taste her power…she must have made a good meal for the vampire." Kaede made another face. "And yet I can't imagine all our hopes lying on one little girl."
"Doesn't she look the spitting image of Kikyo? You know that's how Kikyo looked when she was a girl. And she has survived a deep vampire bite. And you said she had power." Kaede threw her hands up impatiently. "If that isn't a big enough hint from the stars for you, Myouga, then I don't know what is. What do you need, a big sign saying 'This is the One'?"
Myouga nodded thoughtfully, ignoring the barb. Then he faced the girl (he was so short he barely had to look down—and she was sitting) and made her look at him. Her wide, trusting eyes met his.
"Kagome-chan, you must listen to what I say and not tell anyone," he said gravely. "We can help you get your brother, and the man who did this to you. But it won't be easy, because these people are evil. They are so evil, if you are not strong enough they will kill you. You and your brother. To defeat them, it will take many years." He paused, then turned to Kaede. "To ask a little girl to help us kill vampires is almost cruel. She doesn't know what we're asking of her."
"Wait," Kagome interrupting, startling both adults. The face that greeted them was one of a serious woman, not a little child. "I want my brother back. My mom's gonna be sad. And I want to find the guy who did this to me. It's important."
Kaede shrugged. "It is her decision, Myouga. It's not exactly a blood contract."
"Fine. Kagome-chan, a friend of ours was killed by vampires. Yes, that is what took your brother. We want to train you to help defeat vampires, for you, for your brother, and for Kikyo." Myouga placed his small hands on Kagome's equally small shoulders. "If you help us, we will help you. Will you help?"
There was only a hesitant pause. Then, with a face full of determination, the little girl gave a brisk nod.
* * *
It had been six years since the vampires took Souta. Kagome Higurashi already knew it was the sixth anniversary of his death before she heard her mother sobbing in her room or smelled the incense her grandfather laid out.
She lay in bed a few minutes after she woke up, feeling too heavy to stand up. She could clearly remember the day Myouga and Kaede took her home. They told her mom Souta had been kidnapped, and Kagome would have been hurt or worse had they not come across her in time. Her mother and grandfather had accepted the story. Aside from anger, Kagome had never outwardly shown any sadness towards Souta's death (if he'd even died, they weren't sure.) She needed all her energy on her vampire killing studies.
The past years of training had been rough on her body and mind, but she'd broken through it knowing that she would avenge her brother. She felt almost ready—Myouga had given her high praise the day before, saying her skills had nearly surpassed Kikyo's.
But first she had to go to school.
During breakfast she tried to act normal without being extra-chirpy. But when she saw her mother's red-rimmed eyes spilling tears over the table, she just had to speak.
"Ma, don't be sad. You know I'm going to kill the ones who took Souta. I've been training all this time. I'll kill them, and more, too." She knew she meant killing the vampires, but her mother thought she was talking about the criminals. Her words didn't seem to have an affect on her mother, who let out a sob before hurrying to the comfort of the kitchen.
Her grandfather peered at her over his cup of tea. "Kagome, you know you shouldn't sound bloodthirsty around your mother. And me, too. You're a sixteen-year old talking about killing people. Why don't you take up a hobby?"
"But Sensei says—" she stopped herself in time. No matter what she said to her eccentric grandfather, it would always end with a sigh and, "Leave the punishment to the gods, Kagome dear, and take this lucky charm with you so that they won't get you too."
Kagome got up and smoothed down the skirt of her school uniform. "Okay then. Just make sure she doesn't collapse into a depression. Don't mention Souta in the past tense, but don't ignore the fact that this is his death anniversary. And for god's sakes, don't write any more 'Remember Souta, the Ill-Fated Brave Boy' songs! They made even Buyo cry."
"What am I, stupid?" her grandfather muttered under his breath. "After six years, I think I know what makes her mad and what doesn't."
His granddaughter stuck her tongue out. "Sure." With a wave goodbye, she left the house. She had to wait for her best friend, Miroku, at the end of the block. Leaning against a lamp post, she began tapping her toes impatiently. A few minutes passed.
"Kagome!" She turned at the sound of her name. Miroku was running as fast as he could towards her, a middle-aged woman running after him screaming, "I'll teach you to try and mess with my daughter, you no-good son of a—"
"Bitch," he muttered when he was close to Kagome. "What are you standing there for? Run!" He grabbed her wrist and pulled her down the road.
If she hadn't trained for the past few years, she probably couldn't have kept up with the frantic speed Miroku was going at. Now she could run side by side with him and talk at the same time. "Miroku! Who was that woman? Have your standards really gone that low?" It was no secret that Miroku liked chasing after young women. Young women who always rejected him, sadly.
He snorted. "That's my landlady. Her daughter's absolutely gorgeous. I just said my AC was broken and asked if I could spend the night in her room." He saw Kagome's wary gaze. "The daughter, not the landlady. Ick, you're gross, Kagome."
"Well no wonder she's mad at you," Kagome rolled her eyes, "And if you find yourself homeless again don't expect to come to my place. My mother's still edgy with you ever since you tried to grope me while watching TV." Miroku lived alone, and had probably lived in every single apartment and youth hostel in Tokyo. He kept getting kicked out for various reasons, all related to women.
"Oh, don't tell me you didn't like it." Kagome felt an all-too familiar hand on her rear (even while they were running! Miroku must have practiced a lot.) Though they were best friends, Miroku still classified Kagome as a young and pretty girl and therefore eligible for his groping. Growling, she stuck out her foot and tripped him. Instead of falling with him, she stuck her arm out and flipped over, landing neatly on her feet.
He went sprawling on the concrete. Face full of gravel, he turned to look at her in awe. "Hey, you've gotten better!" Bits of gravel flew out of his mouth as he spoke. "How's the training going?" Although Myouga had sworn her to secrecy, she couldn't help telling Miroku when she was thirteen. They were after all best friends.
Kagome grinned. Unlike her family, Miroku actually liked to hear about her vampire slaying training. He was the only person from school who knew. "Myouga says I'm close to the level Kikyo was when she was my age," she said with a thin trace of pride.
Miroku's eyes widened. "Kikyo? That's some pretty high praise!" Both of them knew that Kagome was in a way trying to take Kikyo's place, and they knew she was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, vampire killer in the world. Miroku once mentioned that Kagome even looked something like Kikyo, but she didn't believe him until Kaede brought out some old photographs and actually seen the resemblance.
"So? Are you ready to go out and kick some vampire butt?" Miroku asked her, getting up.
They continued walking to school. Kagome sighed. "Well, six years have passed. I think I should start looking for the ones that killed Souta. Myouga wants me to start finding an entrance to the hidden castle where the Inu-kai are. But the ones who took Souta, I'll get on my own." Her face was fixed with determination.
Miroku slung an arm around her shoulder. "You know, when you get that weird fire glowing in your eyes people think 'Crazy woman! Crazy woman!'"
"Very funny." But Kagome smiled nevertheless.
In school, after they sat in their seats, the homeroom teacher rapped his ruler on the blackboard. "Class, if you'll all sit down and shut up…" His left eye, which always twitched, glared at his students. "…I can introduce a new student."
Even before he said that, all eyes were fixed towards the figure leaning against the doorway. All eyes except Kagome's and Miroku's. Kagome was busy dodging Miroku's very sharp pencil, which he insisted he try to stab her hand with to improve her reflexes. "You just want to hurt me!" she hissed, narrowly yanking her hand out of the way as the point of his pencil crashed down on the desk. "Sadistic little man…"
"Higurashi!" The sharp voice of the teacher made her look up. Miroku knew better than to stab her when she wasn't looking—she was a slayer-in-training. "Pay attention! Class, this is Inu-Yasha."
Someone snorted at the name, but was quickly silenced. It wasn't hard to see why, Kagome thought as she looked at the new student. He screamed 'rebel' all over. His hair was long and black, and his golden eyes flicked uninterestedly around the room. Already a few girls were adding him to their crush list.
His eyes met Kagome's, and they widened. Kagome drew back, confused. He looked as if he were seeing someone he'd met before, but Kagome had never seen him before. Then his eyes narrowed into a glare of utter loathing. Kagome gulped and settled back in her seat. What did I do?
"Hey, Kagome," Miroku whispered from beside her. "Maybe he's got a thing for you. You are a hot chick, after all."
"Nu-uh, I don't think it's that," Kagome whispered back.
"Huh? You don't think you're a hot chick?"
"No, I mean yes, no wait! I mean…" Kagome fell silent. She hated it when Miroku did this to her. She heard his snicker and kicked his shin discreetly under the desks.
Without waiting for the teacher to assign him to a place, Inu-Yasha made his way towards the middle of the room, closer to Kagome. He sat down at the desk on the other side of Kagome (which is taken, she thought huffily) and sent a glare at her, as if daring her to object.
Not good. Kagome stood up. "Sensei, that's Aiko-san's desk. She has a doctor's appointment today. There's a place at the back for him."
Inu-Yasha smirked. "I can't see the blackboard from that far. I need to be closer so I can see it. Here's fine."
Yeah right, you probably have perfect vision, you stinking liar, Kagome thought bitingly. The teacher shrugged and continued reading the bulletin as if nothing had happened. Kagome sat down hard in her seat and scowled.
Normally she got along with new students. But he was different. Why was he acting so weirdly?
An almost unbelievable thought crossed her mind. Kagome jerked up as she remembered something her Myouga had told her: if a vampire killer was strong, but not strong enough to mask their scent, a vampire could sniff them out from normal humans. Maybe Inu-Yasha could sniff her out from the normal students in the classroom. Why else would he be acting so hostile? She couldn't have made a wrong impression—she didn't even make one. Kagome's gaze slid towards Inu-Yasha, who noticed her staring and raised his eyebrows. What kind of human had golden eyes, anyway?
Could it be, just a far off notion, that Inu-Yasha was a vampire?