Disclaimer: The characters in Inuyasha do not belong to me, I don't own them, yadda yadda yadda, I'm just using them….blah blah blah. Am I done yet?
Kagome Higurashi fell to the ground, catching her breath. She could feel the gathering ache in her feet from the long distance walking that she did on a daily basis. Her bag slid from her shoulders awkwardly as she turned her head towards the sound of approaching footsteps
"Kagome, are you well?" Sango asked.
The girl smiled up at her friend. "Fine, really. I suppose I'm just glad to be back in the village. My legs really hurt from all the walking we did today."
Hai. That is understandable." Sango smiled as she watched Shippou tackled Kagome from behind. The miko grabbed the small kitsune and giggled. She started to stand up, after casting a suspicious glance around for any lecherous monks that happened to be hoping for a glance up her skirt. She didn't see anything, but to be safe, she tugged her skirt down as she stood up.
"I suppose I should be going to tell Inuyasha that I'm leaving for the week." Kagome sighed.
"Aww, Kagome…do you have to go?" Shippou whined.
"Gomen, Shippou, but I have 3 tests this week in school, and I still haven't gotten around to studying for them." Kagome said, gathering her backpack and beginning to walk away.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome called up into a tall oak tree. A small whoosh reached her ears as he was beside her. "I'm leaving for the week." The miko held her breath, waiting for his outburst.
Inuyasha frowned at this. He didn't like when he had to wait for her, but he knew that the night of the new moon was approaching, and he didn't want to exhibit any of his embarrassing human behavior to her. "Okay." He said reluctantly.
Kagome smiled at the hanyou, slightly surprised, but very happy they hadn't gotten in a fight over her leaving. She shifted her yellow backpack on her shoulders, and said a quick goodbye to Inuyasha. She ran off to say goodbye to the others, as Inuyasha returned to his tree, watching her from the foliage.
Kagome collapsed on her bed, smiling at the softness. Only one thought crossed her mind at a time like this…Bath. Kagome hummed cheerfully as she prepared the hot water and sank into the liquid pleasure. Sighing, she sunk down deeper. A whole week of not traveling with Inuyasha. It was a relief to be off her feet and in her own time, but there were still many pressures facing her here. Three major tests in her hardest classes. How was she ever going to pull this off? "Maybe I should just give up school," she thought aloud, "I'll fail anyway." Kagome grabbed the soap. "I better not think about it," Kagome resolved, trying to push away over exaggerated images of her, homeless and dirty on the street because of a lack of an education. Reaching over to pick up the shampoo, Kagome's thoughts drifted back into the Sengoku Jidai. Naraku had not stricken in a long time, telling Kagome that he was most likely weaving a new trap for her and her friends. The miko desperately wished there was something she could do about it, but at the moment there was nothing.
She sighed again, standing up and quickly snatching a towel to wrap around her body. She went into her room, and put on some clean pajamas. "Ahh…." She sighed, "nothing like the soft kiss of cotton." Giggling at her sudden eloquence, she reached for her bag, sifting through it to find her hairbrush. Frowning, she reached her hand in deeper, searching for it. Finally she gave up, dumping out the entire bagGiving up, she dumped out the entire bag, sending all the contents scattered around the room. "Where is it?" She asked aloud. Bringing her finger to her mouth, she bit her fingernail, closing her eyes in concentration. "I must have left it in the Feudal Era," she conceded.
The color left her face as she recalled the day that Souta had given her the brush. It was her birthday, and even though it was a special day, she had decided upon sharing half of her day in the Sengoku Jidai. Souta had run up to her as she was about to jump in the well. Blushing he pushed the package into her hands. "Here Kagome, I got this so you wouldn't forget me in the Feudal Era." He looked down at his feet. "Its nothing special, so you don't have to keep it or anything," he muttered. "Open it later, okay?" He ran out of the well house, leaving a smiling Kagome behind. Despite the fact that he acted like a know-it-all from time to time, he really was adorable.
"What have you found, Kojiki?"
A hand extended from the shadows, revealing a brush. The back was elaborately decorated in blue and white, and on the handle there was a gold inscription. "To Kagome, From Souta" it said in neat, evenly spaced letters. "A brush, master Naraku," the owner of the hand said. "I listened in to her conversation with the demon exterminator. It seems that it is a very meaningful object to the girl. It was given to her by her little brother."
An twisted smile appeared on Naraku's face. There was no better way to destroy the miko and Inuyasha: to lure the miko into his own trap. He needed the bait first, of course.
"Kojiki." He barked. "I believe you know what to do. Tonight, on the night of the new moon, you shall work your magic."
"Yes, master Naraku."
Kagome tried to recall where she last left the brush. A thought struck her. "Maybe I left it by that spring when I was bathing with Sango. I bet she picked it up and forgot to give it back." A little bit of color returned to the girl's face.
"Kagome!" A voice called from downstairs. "Dinner!"
The miko smiled slightly and bounded down the stairs, deciding not to tell Souta that she might have lost the brush.
Kojiki stared at the brush. He had never seen one made quite so nicely. The characters in the engraving were perfect, something that only a skilled craftsman could do. He ran his gnarled hands over the gold letters Kagome, then did the same with the name Souta. He could see his reflection in the gold. An old face surrounded by rough, ugly black hair. Where had his youth gone? His appearance had never really mattered much to him, he was too preoccupied most of the time on how he could acquire more power. He pulled the hair from the brush, black, silky hair, so much softer than his own. The strands were thick and strong, he observed as he twisted them through his fingers. He untangled the clump he was holding using the brush and tied it into a smooth knot that he stuffed into his pocket. He would use it later.
Kagome pulled the curtain away from the window as she tipped back in her chair to observe the beautiful sky. It was a rainbow of colors, highlighted by the gold edged clouds and the setting sun, peeking out from the houses and trees that crowded the landscape. Sighing, she resumed her studying, only to be distracted by the time. It was getting late, and she was very tired. Slamming her books shut, Kagome decided to call it a night. I still have tomorrow to study, Kagome thought to herself. She flipped off her light, and darkness consumed her room. By the time she had settled into bed, the sun had long sunk into the horizon. Kagome breathed in deeply the smell of her own home.
Soon she dozed off, trying not to think about the homework and studying that she had to look forward to tomorrow.
However, Kagome awoke to sounds of footsteps creaking outside her door. Always being a light sleeper, the girl sat up slowly, straining her ears to hear the small noises that were coming from
outside her room. Hearing the footsteps go down the stairs and through the front room, Kagome wondered who it was. Surely someone wasn't getting a midnight snack?
The miko heard the shutting of the front door, and she stood up, pulling back the curtains so she could see who had left the house. A glowing figure made its way to the part of the Higurashi shrine where the well was located. Kagome blinked a few times, wondering if her tired eyes were playing tricks on her. She examined the silhouette of the figure, only to realize that it looked like her little brother. Seeing him enter the well house almost in a trance, Kagome grabbed a robe and dashed out of her room. Is Souta sleepwalking? Kagome asked herself as she went down the stairs as quietly as she could. She ran out the front door, wincing as her feet came in contact with the cold wet grass.
Kagome entered the shack that housed the well, searching for her brother. Gulping, she looked down into the well. Empty. Had he crossed into the feudal era? Kagome wondered. Running outside and casting a quick glance around, she decided that he must have. But how? Am I just imagining things? Kagome glanced back down into the well, sitting on the side and swinging her legs over. She held her breath and jumped, knowing that her fall would be cushioned by the familiar magic of the well.
Crawling out of the well on the other side, Kagome searched the area around her. Why is it so dark? Suddenly a glimpse of light caught her eye. Souta?! He really is here!
"Souta!" She called out.
The little boy turned towards her, eyes fearful. Suddenly Kagome saw something she hadn't seen before because of the enveloping darkness. Silver fur of a baboon. One of Naraku's puppets, holding Souta's shoulders as he reached for her. Kagome gasped, and began walking toward her little brother.
"Not so fast miko." The smooth voice of Naraku cut into Kagome's sleepy mind, like a sharp kitchen knife. "Your dear little brother is to come with me, and you will have to come and get him yourself. I daresay you will not succeed in retrieving him, however. Without your Inuyasha, you are helpless and unable to retrieve your beloved brother." Kagome winced.
"Naraku, why must you bring my brother into this? He never did anything to you!"
Naraku's voice turned scornful. "He has to pay for what you have done to me." With those resonating words, he began to disappear into the darkness. Kagome stood where she was, torn. Should she go get Inuyasha in the village, or chase after him? Suddenly Kagome realized why it was so dark. It was the night of the new moon. Inuyasha was a mere human, and by the time she got to the village, it would be hopeless to retrieve Souta. She began running in the direction of Naraku. The practical side of her mind screamed at her. Even if you do catch up with Naraku, what will you do? You have no weapons. Kagome tried to ignore the pragmatic reasoning. It doesn't matter. I have to reach Souta, to let him know that I'm there.
Kojiki wrapped the hair around the brush, chanting. He used his thumb to stroke the strands until they were smooth. He closed his eyes in concentration, conjuring an image of a silhouetted boy. He pulled one of the strands, chanting slightly louder, and tried to reach the girl's mind, to make her go wild with protectiveness. He pulled on the strand harder, and chanted even louder, rocking back and forth in his cross-legged position. He began to sweat, and the drops of sweat fell on the brush and hair.
Kagome began seeing red. What did she see up ahead? Was that….her brother? Was that Souta?! Kagome's mind went foggy as she began to see images of her brother in front of her. The miko ran faster, trying to catch up. Why are you running so fast, Souta? I'm coming to help you…to save you! She breathed faster, panting with every step she took with her bare feet.
In a tree, a still figure lifted his head for a second, sniffing the air silently. He began to hear pounding footsteps. He could smell sweat and blood all surrounded by a strong sense of magic. A demon? He jumped down from the tree, tracing the scent. Suddenly he saw a figure running through the woods. Not very fast, he noted. Getting a better view, he noticed the figure was a dirty, barefooted human. He moved closer, tailing her silently. It seemed she was under the effect of some spell. He observed the black hair and strange clothes, and suddenly he realized that it was the girl that followed his brother around. Suddenly he sprang from his position, and pinned her to a tree.
Kagome knew something was wrong when she was literally ripped off her center of balance and slammed against something hard. Correction…something very hard. Her head pounded in pain and her vision swam. She tried to clear her head as she kept her eyes squeezed shut. However, she could still feel something pulling at her mind. The image of Souta reappeared in front of her. The pragmatic side of her struggled to reason, but it was suppressed. Kagome barely noticed the claws on her, holding her up to the tree.
I have to get to him…to save him…Kagome tried to catch her breath. The image of Souta pulsated in time with her throbbing head.
"N-No. Souta!" Kagome gasped, using a burst of her own miko energy to free herself, and began running towards the image again, her mind clouded. She ran faster, and faster, finding some sort of rhythm in her steps. She reached out a hand. I'm so close to him… if only I could reach…
Kagome pushed off with her bottom foot, springing forward to try to get closer. However, the image disappeared, and suddenly Kagome's mind cleared. Something was horrible wrong. Where she should be was on the ground after jumping after her little brother like that. The miko gasped, opening her eyes.
There was nothing below her.
Kagome screamed, combining the fear and the realization that she had jump off a cliff of her own will. She closed her eyes again, preparing for life-ending impact. Amazingly, she felt a strange feeling in her stomach, like she had changed directions, and she was suddenly conscious of something warm beneath her. An arm? Kagome opened her eyes, her body still trembling from fear and shock. Golden eyes scowled at her, sending a shiver up her spine and down her arms.
"Sesshoumaru?" Kagome gulped.
Suddenly all color drained from her face as she realized that HE had been the one who had slammed her against the tree. And then she had used her miko energy to hurt him…And he was probably ticked off….No, based on the look in his eyes, really, really PISSED. By the looks of it, any kind of reasoning would be immediately shot down. Was I under some sort of spell? The answer was most likely yes. Naraku had manipulated her mind, driving her wild with protectiveness. Kagome let out a small "uuf" as Sesshoumaru landed on the ground with a jolt. He released her, and she slumped down, trying to catch her breath.
Sesshoumaru looked down a the girl with distaste. Her feet were bare, and although she did smell clean, she was dressed most inappropriately. Some sort of open kimono over pants and a strange shirt. With little—Sesshoumaru inwardly grimaced—bunny rabbits scattered all over the print. His own Rin had more taste, and she was but a little girl. He reached his one arm down and grabbed her small wrist, dragging her enough so that she could see him, but would have to crane her neck most painfully.
Kagome looked up at the demon lord, wide eyed. Suddenly she snapped back into herself and used her own power to stand up. She faced him resolutely, and said, as dignified as she could, "I was under a spell." She tried to meet his glare, but the daggers he sent her through his eyes felt real. "Uhh…" She mumbled, losing her composure a little, "It was Naraku's spell, and he, uh—"
"Silence, stupid girl. I do not care for your mumbling." His ice-cold voice cut through the miko, making her wince slightly.
"I uh…didn't mean to hurt you or anything, when I used my energy…" Kagome trailed off.
Sesshoumaru would never admit it, but the blast of purifying energy had actually hurt. He was certain he would have a burn mark on his skin where she had touched him. The more important issue at hand was, however, what he was going to do with this girl. He weighed his options. He could kill her, which would accomplish nothing and it would probably cause his brother to come after him. Or he could return her, which would probably result in a fight with his stupid hanyou brother. He could also leave her here, which would probably get her killed, not that it bothered him. However, his brother would find her and smell him on her, then come after him and fight him. Or, the best option was to take her as a hostage, because he knew that both Inuyasha and Naraku wanted her, and that he could use to his advantage. All ended with a senseless fight with Inuyasha, but it seemed that it could not be avoided.
Sesshoumaru, one to often act on impulse made his decision. He would take her with him and use her as an advantage, or bait even. Sesshoumaru's eyes came back in focus as he came out of his concentrated state, only to realize that the girl was still talking.
"Silence." He said sharply. Kagome stopped her mumbling, looking up at him with wide eyes. Aw man, this really sucks. Kagome thought. Is he gonna kill me now or what?
"You are to come with me."
"Huh?!" Kagome watched him stalk away, pausing for a second before she began to follow him silently.
God! I HATE walking.Kagome sighed for the elevendy-billionth time that day. She kept her eyes on Sesshoumaru's hair: it's movement seemed to sort of set some type of pace. It was getting dark. Is he gonna set camp or something?
Almost as though on cue, Sesshoumaru stopped and looked back slightly. We will be stopping to rest for the night here." He indicated to a cave with his right hand. "You will make a fire and wait for me."
Kagome smiled slightly, eyebrows furrowed. How the hell am I supposed to start a fire? He was gone. Too late. I guess I'll have to figure it out for myself. Kagome gathered some pieces of wood, of all sizes and types. Sitting down with two small sticks, Kagome rubbed them together like she had seen on TV once. Five minutes failed attempts, Kagome furrowed her eyebrows again and threw the sticks away. She looked around.
"Hey wait!" Kagome said aloud. "This cave is made of stone!" Immediately feeling dumb for talking to herself, Kagome grabbed two nearby stones and struck them together like she had read in a book. A couple sparks jumped out, causing Kagome to yelp and pull away in fear.
"I can totally do this!" Kagome told herself aloud, trying to make herself feel better. "If I can take these sparks and make them fall here—"
"Human, who are you talking to?" Kagome looked up, meeting the cold glare of gold eyes. Sesshoumaru was holding a bundle in his right hand, and as he walked towards her, he dropped the bundle by her feet. His right hand grabbed the rock she held in her hand, and he pushed her aside with his body. Kagome's butt hit the cold hard floor as she let out an very undignified "uuf!" The girl winced, rubbing her butt with one hand, while propping her up with the other.
Sesshoumaru stepped away from the newly kindled fire. Kagome gaped. "But…You made that so fast!"
"A fire is a simple thing to make."
Kagome reached over and picked up the bundle of cloth. She unfolded the fabric slowly, holding it up in front of her. A kimono. "For me to wear?" She voiced quietly, examining the fabric.
"No, human, for you to climb a tree with." Sesshoumaru's voice hinted sarcasm.
A pregnant pause fell upon them.
"I'm not interested in the way it looks. I merely do not want to parade around with a human dressed in such vile clothes as you are wearing."
Kagome looked down and blushed. Her clothes were a bit, inappropriate for the situation. She winced. Bunny rabbits. Well, I thought I was kawaii when Mama gave it to me…
Kagome blushed deeper. "Well you're going to have to go away then!" Sesshoumaru glared. "Well, at least for a second…"
The taiyoukai's eyes narrowed for a moment before he looked away, giving Kagome just enough privacy to change quickly.
Kagome adjusted the kimono, looking down at her feet. "Well, I don't have any shoes or anything." She said aloud. Sesshoumaru looked back towards her, scowling. Kagome observed at the pattern. It was very simple. The fabric was a dark blue color with silver and gold colored blossoms. The colors were quite muted, but she liked it just the same. "I've only worn one of these a couple of times." The miko remarked, holding up her arm so she could admire the sleeves.
Sesshoumaru hid his surprise. She's only worn a kimono a couple of times? He stood up and looked outside the cave, leaning against the wall. The miko padded slowly over to the fire, running her fingers along the side of the cave. Her bunny rabbit pajamas lay folded next to her. She had already decided on keeping them. There was a silence that lasted over a half an hour, the miko contemplating her situation, the youkai thinking over matters dealing with his lands, Naraku and Inuyasha.
"Kagome." The girl said softly, breaking the silence.
Sesshoumaru turned his head slightly.
"Is my name. Not human, stupid girl, or especially wench." The miko traced patterns on her knees.
"Kagome." She repeated. "Is what you should call me by."
Chapter One complete!
A.N. Sigh…That makes almost 12 pages in Microsoft Word! Whew. Be sure to review please!
Also, I know I still need to work on my writing. It's not very flowery, you know. In this chapter I kinda told, instead of showed. But I needed to set the scene. (Making excuses) ^-^ Its just that I haven't written any fiction in 5 months, and I'm still getting back into it. It'll get better…
*Crazy Vash laugh* (I love that!)
(P.S.) Kagome hasn't forgotten about Souta, nor have I forgotten about Kojiki, so don't worry about it.