Author's Note: Welcome to my first (posted) Inuyasha fic! I'm really excited to write this one because I've got it outlined and I think it's going to be so much fun!
Just a heads up, this is an AU fic, set during WWII in Europe. Although I realize that youkai were not common in western society during that time (or anywhere else for that matter, as far as I know;), for the purposes of this story they are. This means that all characters who are normally youkai are still youkai, and I'm not planning to make an issue out of it (such as having people be freaked out by Inuyasha's ears and things). Also, the characters are not technically Japanese in this story, but that shouldn't make a huge difference. I just wanted to clarify! ;)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! And please, comments, good or bad, are all welcome. As I said, it is outlined, but not written yet. If there are any big problems or oversights I can probably adapt to accommodate them! ;)Missing in Action
Chapter 1: Pilot Error
cockpit shuddered around him. Inuyasha clung tightly to the controls, trying
desperately to keep the plane from careening off into the dark gray mass of
clouds that filled the sky. He caught one of the enemy fighters within his
sites and fired, pulling up only after it burst into flames and its wreckage
plummeted downward. He couldn't spare even a thought for the pilot whose life
he'd just ended, lest he find himself in a similar situation. Instead his eyes
peered out into the growing darkness, seeking the other planes, trying to get a
fix on their positions and keep them from tailing him, for that could be fatal.
The rest of his squadron had vanished somewhere in the clouds. They'd gotten separated when a swarm of German stealth fighters had ambushed them from all sides. At least three of the fighters had stayed with him; three to one -- not exactly in his favor this time. But only two remained now.
"Come on, come on..." he intoned, banking left in pursuit of the nearest target. But he had to drop a few feet to avoid the other plane as it made a pass at him from the right, and in the process the first plane disappeared from view. Changing objectives in mid-maneuver, as he had been trained to do with ease, he chased after the one which had just fired on him, growing ever more irritated with the pair of them.
Just as he was about to fire upon his quarry, a terrible jolt rocked the cabin and his aircraft lurched forward into a nosedive.
"Fuck, no..." he growled through gritted teeth as he wrestled with the controls in an attempt to steady the fighter. He was loosing altitude rapidly, the g-forces becoming more and more intense as the ground spiraled closer. A grunt of frustration escaped him and he gave an almighty yank, finally managing to pull the nose up, but it was no use. He was falling too fast and he was too close to the ground, not to mention the fact that the plane was leaning right heavily -- the wing had been damaged.
I'm going to die.
He braced for impact. "Holy fuck!" he shouted, steeling himself, just a split second before the aircraft smacked against a tree and glanced off at a spin, to finally collide fully and spectacularly with the ground.
* * *
It was a cool, March evening in the French countryside, but the weather had warmed considerably of late, allowing the couple to dine outdoors for a change. They sat at a cozy little candle lit table for two out on the stone patio of a large house, which had been appropriated by the commander of the regiment in charge of occupation of the village.
Kagome idly drew lazy figure-eights on the white linen tablecloth with her fingernail as she smiled warmly across the table at her dinner companion. At the moment he was rambling on about some incident with one of the officers under his command that had occurred earlier that day. Quite frankly, she was bored stiff, and had quit really listening about a half an hour ago. It was just as well, because Kouga usually preferred to dominate the conversation anyway. By now she was used to waiting out his long dull talks with a sweet, adoring smile plastered on her face until something useful came up. This sort of skill was necessary in her line of work.
"So naturally I suspended him from duty and confined him to quarters for the remainder of the week. After all, we cannot tolerate those who are less than exemplary in the Fuhrer's military." He paused to take a sip of the fine pinot noir, which, incidentally, had been sequestered from a local vintner by Kouga's soldiers. "Imagine, an officer out of uniform with his collar unbuttoned, at guard duty. Such things are unacceptable. An officer must be an example for his men -- indeed for all those under the protection of the Reich, for our army is its life's blood," Kouga swelled with pride as he expounded, yet again, the virtues of the German military. It was with practiced grace that Kagome nodded firmly in agreement.
"How right you are my dear. I have always said that France would do well to follow the German example. But my people can be so stubborn about democracy and civil liberty. What good are they, if we cannot defend them?" she concurred, then went in for the kill, "You're so very wise in such military matters. They must trust you a great deal to give you such an important post here in our little village."
"Why yes, they do. In fact, I've recently been informed that General Naraku intends to pay me a personal visit in order to discuss certain top secret matters," he boasted, and Kagome allowed her eyes to glaze a bit, as though she were merely awed by his importance. In reality, however, she took in every word. This was the part she had been waiting for.
"My, he does sound important!" she breathed, secretly disgusted with her air-headed tone, "When is he coming?"
"I am told he is to arrive within the week," said Kouga proudly, obviously gratified by her attention. "But enough of business, my dear. Let us go inside and have our coffee, and then we can retire to my chambers for more...enjoyable activities," he smirked suggestively, and she returned with a coy sort of expression as he rose and turned to go inside. The minute his back was to her she made a revolted face and gritted her teeth for her least favorite part of the evening. But she knew that as long as she kept him 'satisfied' he never got suspicious. He was far too arrogant to believe she was deceiving him -- which, of course, she was.
* * *
The last of the customers had departed Le Cafe de l'Asile over an hour ago, and it was now almost two o'clock in the morning. Sango had finished washing the dishes and wiping down the tables, and was just cleaning the counter when she heard the little bell on the door jingle, heralding the arrival of a visitor.
"I'm sorry, were-" she stopped as she looked up and saw who it was. "Oh, hey Kagome. How'd it go with Kouga tonight?"
The woman grimaced and replied, "Same as usual. But it's a necessary evil, I suppose." Dropping her things on a nearby table, she collapsed into a chair and propped her feet up on another. "I'm dead on my feet."
Sango put down the rag she'd been using and came around the counter to lean back against it, "Oh come on Kagome, it can't be that bad. After all, Kouga's not exactly hideous; he's pretty handsome, come to think of it. You're not going to tell me you don't enjoy it even the tiniest little bit?"
"Sango, if you had spent as much time with the man as I have, you wouldn't have to ask. Sure he's good-looking, but that is completely balanced out by the fact that the man's a complete ass," Kagome stated ruefully. She heaved a sigh and looked away, muttering almost to herself, "But, there's nothing to be done about it; we need him as a contact," her voice darkened, "and it's not as if I were saving myself for anyone." Not anymore, she thought.
Sango opened her mouth to respond, but just then there came three sharp knocks in a long-short-short pattern on the side door. "It's Miroku," Sango stated simply, though her voice was slightly hushed, and she went to let him in while Kagome checked to see that all the blackout curtains were in place.
Soon a man dressed in loose, black clothes, with dark brown hair pulled into a short ponytail entered the room. He removed his knit cap and smiled in greeting to each of them. "Kagome; Sango." His grin widened a bit when his gaze met the second woman's. Her eyes narrowed in response, and she said warningly, "Miroku, so help me, if you try anything I'll-"
"Alright, alright, relax," he held up his hands in a placating gesture, "I promise, I'll be the perfect gentleman." Both women raised a skeptical eyebrow at him. "I will! Really!" They merely made eye contact and shook their heads, still disbelieving, but before the conversation could go any further Kagome spoke up.
"Well, I talked to Kouga today and I managed to get a little more information from him."
"Oh?" Miroku said, his playful tone sliding into business mode. He took a seat nearby and Sango went back to lean on the counter, careful to keep her distance, "What did he say?"
"After enlightening me on the glory that is the Third Reich," Kagome said wryly, "he mentioned that he was expecting a visit from General Naraku sometime within the week."
"General Naraku?" Sango echoed, astonished.
"Hmm," Miroku considered, brow creased in concern, "This is big. There must be something pretty important on the fire if Naraku is coming all the way out here just to talk to Colonel Kouga."
Kagome watched his expression and began to get a bit nervous herself. "Do you have any idea what it could be?"
"Hm? Oh," he snapped back out of his thoughts, "well, there is something going on on our side at least, but I'm not exactly authorized to tell you about it at the moment. Actually, I hardly know anything myself, but I wonder if the Krauts are on to us. They could be planning some sort of counter-operation or something."
Sango, having forgotten completely about avoiding Miroku, had crossed the room to take a seat with the other two and asked in a worried sort of voice, "What do you mean? Do you think there would...I mean, is there supposed to be some kind of battle near here?"
"I really don't know exactly. Maybe," Miroku's voice turned comforting as his attention fell completely upon Sango. He took her hand and ran his thumb gently over her knuckles, "But don't worry. If I get word of military action in the area, I'll do everything I can to get you two out, okay?"
Kagome smiled to herself as she saw some of the tension in her friend's shoulders release at his words, saw the look they exchanged. Sango would never admit it, she knew, but there was obviously something between them. To what extent the feelings went, however, Kagome was not yet sure.
"Okay," Sango replied.
"Good. I've got to get out of here and get this news back to the others. They have more information than I do." He released Sango's hand, and the look of slight disappointment that crossed her face was not lost on Kagome. But the latter only nodded and rose to go peak out the window to see that the coast was clear. The moment her back was turned she heard a slap and Sango's voice saying, in an angry whisper, "Hentai!" She shook her head and thought, Some things never change.
After Miroku had left, the two women climbed the stairs to their shared apartment on the upper floor of the cafe. Both were incredibly tired and as such, neither managed to stay awake for long.
* * *
Darkness. Everything was darkness. It was thick and tangible like molasses and all that he could see, all that he was aware of, was the slow, clumsy, syrupy depth of it. It felt as if his being were suspended within it, neither living nor dead, merely existing within a vast sea of endless black.
Then, all at once, something began to change. He was no longer suspended by the darkness, but suffocated by it. He felt as if it were pressing in upon him from all sides, trying to drag him down, further within its depths. But he fought against it. He struggled to breathe, to see something other than the black, to become aware of the world he knew existed somewhere beyond. Gradually, the darkness receded, growing lighter and easier to move through. Slowly he felt himself regaining consciousness.
When Inuyasha opened his eyes, the first thing he was aware of was that it was still dark. This confused him for a moment, until his brain managed to register that it was night. Almost immediately following, he suddenly became aware of a great deal of pain throughout his body. He let out a gasp as it shot through him, but this only caused further pain in the general vicinity of his ribcage. Wincing, he ground out a muffled curse.
What happened? he thought vaguely, trying to remember what had occurred before he lost consciousness. As his eyes adjusted to the pale light of the moon, he began to perceive the faint outline of a plane cockpit around him. The glass cover had been shattered and the craft sat at an odd angle, seemingly propped against a tree. Closing his eyes in concentration, he started to recall the flight he had been on before...before what?
In his mind's eye, he saw an image of a German aircraft swooping over him at close range as he dodged its fire. There had been a jolt, and he'd gone into a nosedive...that was it. He'd been shot down by enemy aircraft. Then his last coherent thought before loosing consciousness crossed his mind.
I'm going to die.
I'm alive? he thought, incredulously. How did I manage that?
He supposed it had been luck. And perhaps a little bit hanyou physiology. A crash like that would have killed most ordinary humans, but it appeared he had survived it with only a few injuries.
Carefully, with a grimace of pain, he lifted his arms to test them out. The right was a bit sore and bruised, but mostly okay. The left on the other hand seemed to have been fractured. Next he used his right hand to test his ribs. With a hiss of pain, he discovered that one or two of them at least were broken, others bruised as well. Finally, he tried his legs. They were stiff and sore, but otherwise unharmed. He also noticed that there was a rather large gash on his left side from which he had lost some blood. He needed medical attention of some kind; his hanyou physiology could repair the damage relatively quickly, but he would need at least some shelter and a first aid kit to give it a chance to do so.
Besides, he knew that when a plane went down in enemy territory it didn't take long before the military sent out search parties to recover plane and pilot. He'd been a part of those search parties at times in the past. The idea of being a prisoner in a Nazi P.O.W. camp did not appeal to him at all.
That brought up another good question -- where the hell was he? He'd gotten separated from his unit and hadn't had much opportunity to get his bearings during the fight. He honestly had no idea where he'd ended up, apart from being somewhere in Western Europe. He'd just have to pick a direction and hope he came across some settlement inhabited by people who would refrain from shooting him on sight.
He disentangled himself from the seat belt and with a grunt of pain, eased himself up out of the seat, trying to keep his left arm and side as still as possible. Wanting to leave no evidence of his identity for the Germans to trace him with, he shredded his flight suit and hid his dog tags and IDs on his person. Any article of clothing with an American emblem was left with the plane, nametags removed. He was left with green cargo pants, a white tank top, stained red with his blood, a green button-down shirt (also stained, but only a little), and a brown leather jacket, from which the patches had been carefully removed to avoid suspicion. He also gabbed his compass and slipped it into his pocket. Finally he retrieved his firearm, securing it in the back of his belt, where it was concealed by his coat.
Glancing around, squinting into the darkness, he noticed a glint of what appeared to be metal reflecting the moonlight. Whatever it was was about one hundred yards off through the trees. Moving closer, he recognized it as a large piece of the wing of his aircraft.
"This must be the way I came," he muttered, then glanced back at the rest of the craft, and finally pulled out his compass. "Northwest..." he frowned, "but we were going...arrgh, this is useless!" Immediately he regretted his outburst as it made his ribs twinge painfully, and he had to bite back another string of curses just itching to be unleashed. But unfortunately that would have the same effect.
When the pain subsided and his nerves had calmed, he turned and picked a random direction, setting off in search of civilization as fast as his injuries would allow.
* * *
He'd been traveling for what seemed like ages. His left side was beginning to throb, and he could feel the gash being strained as he walked. Through the trees he could see that the sky was beginning to lighten ever so slightly.
Just when he was beginning to consider stopping to rest, as dangerous as he knew that would be, he saw that the trees were thinning, and a quaint little European village was visible up ahead. Reinvigorated by the sight, he picked up the pace, ignoring the protests of his injured body.
When he reached the village, he passed up the little houses on the outskirts, instead heading for the main street, where buildings were less likely to be inhabited at this hour. On the way he passed a sign reading 'Bienvenue a l'Acile,' and noted absently that he must be in either France or Belgium.
Finally he came upon the main street and the first building he noticed was a little cafe called Le Cafe de l'Acile. It was the most promising thing around and likely to have at least some water for him to clean his wound. Without hesitation he expertly used his dog tags to pick the lock and slipped inside, headed straight for the kitchen. There he found some old rags and water to clean up the blood. There was no disinfectant or anything, but he was reluctant to search any further lest he get caught.
So he settled down on the floor behind the counter where he could rest and yet still keep an eye on the door in case anyone came and he had to get out fast through the back. Unfortunately, he had failed to account for the fact that he was dead tired and had lost a good amount of blood, and promptly fell asleep.
He was rudely awakened the next morning by a very high-pitched scream.
* * *
A/N: So what do you think? Oh and by the way, I just want to assure you all that I have every intention of completing this fic. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people start fics and don't finish them. I could never do that to others!
Till next time (I'll try to update soon)! Please review…