For the record (ahem): I do not own, in whole or in part, any part of the Inuyasha franchise. Nor do I own any of the characters from said franchise that are used forthwith. The following story is solely based on the ramblings of a college student at a boring job and are not to be taken or believed as part of the true Inuyasha saga. That being said, please enjoy my first attempt at fan fiction. Feel free to critique ad nauseum. (whew!)
Chapter One – Movement Beyond the Trees
The forest was abuzz with the same chirps and twitters that always brand Kagome's return to the feudal era. She climbed out of the well and sat down on the cool stone surface. Something felt different. She looked around her, but nothing in the small clearing looked out of place. Still, her senses were heightened with foreboding, and her legs seemed unwilling to move in the general direction of Kaede's village.
So she sat. Surely someone will come looking for me. Shippo knows that I am coming back today with treats. He is probably bouncing up and down in Kaede's hut right now, driving Inuyasha crazy. Kagome laughed to herself at that thought. Yep. I bet he will get Inuyasha to come and get me any moment now. Which is good, because I don't feel right about leaving this place.
A chill went up her spine. She felt as if someone were watching her. She stood up, grabbing her bow and an arrow from her pack as she stood. She searched the ground as well as the tree line around her, but saw no one. I don't sense any shards, so it couldn't be Naraku. Could it? She shivered as she thought about the nasty hanyou. He had tried to kill her on countless occasions. He had had a dark miko possess her with tainted Shikon Jewel shards. He had even started up a tenuous alliance with Kikyou in hopes of killing both Kagome and Inuyasha. She sure did not want to meet him alone in a forest.
But she was sure someone, or something, was watching her. She concentrated really hard and could almost feel the eyes watching her. I don't feel threatened. Something isn't waiting to kill me over there or it would have come out already. I am alone after all. I just know that I am not alone, whatever it is. She turned to her left, to the thickest growth of trees. She strained her ears to pick up any noise and heard something move. Something larger than the occasional bird in the forest. Bigger, but also more graceful. It sounded like someone trying to be unheard; soft brush of twigs and rustle of leaves of a carefully placed foot or gingerly moved leg. Her breath stopped. Something is watching me. She lifted her bow and pointed the arrow in the direction of the noise. "I know you are there, and I know you have been watching me. So come out." She thought that sounded a little weak so she added for good measure, "Don't make me go in there."
Kagome startled as she saw movement just beyond the first trees of the forest. She squinted towards the movement, trying to make out a figure. "Come out, you coward," she said in her bravest voice. "Quit hiding behind the trees and face me."
The trees made no more movement, and Kagome got bolder. The point of the arrow glowed a bright blue as her courage gathered. She focused her miko powers through months of training, secretly thanking Inuyasha for forcing her to strengthen her burgeoning powers. She again heard a rustle of brush just beyond her line of vision. It sounded as if someone jumped down from a perch. But they landed so softly...maybe not.
Just as Kagome could make out a tall figure moving toward her, just behind the trees, she heard another noise.
Kagome screamed as the voice called behind her. She whirled around and faced the voice, momentarily unable to recognize it. Before she could stop it, her hand released the glowing blue arrow. She gasped as she realized she had just shot an arrow at..."Miroku!"
"What the..." Miroku barely had enough time to deflect the arrow with his staff as he, Sango, and Shippo entered the clearing near the well.
"Oh, gosh! I am so sorry. Shippo, you scared me half to death." Kagome gave a weak smile. Her knees were still shaking from the movement behind the trees. "Oh!" Kagome quickly turned to where the trees had moved. No more movement. Damn. She ran over to the trees and looked. Nothing Not even a footprint marks the ground for me to follow. It must have been a demon.
Shippo bounded up onto her shoulder, peering into the trees. "Something was watching me. It was right here. I know it was." She looked up a large tree directly in front of her. "It sounded like it jumped down from there when I called for it to come out. But I don't know where it went."
Shippo sniffed the air. "Well, it isn't here now. Whatever it was." He looked cautiously around with Kagome. But, his youthful exuberance quickly overrode his caution and he began bouncing on her shoulder. "What did you bring me?"
Miroku came to stand by Kagome, with Sango walking slowly up to his other side. He frowned at Shippo. "Not now. I feel that a demon presence was here. A powerful one at that." He leaned forward, seemingly to peer into the forest with Kagome and Shippo. "Hmm. I cannot tell which way he went, but..." He placed a wayward hand on her bottom and began to massage it. "I can see that you are distraught. Perhaps a little consolation is in order."
The birds were scared from their perches as two loud slaps reverberated from the group. Miroku quickly walked away from Shippo and the girls with two red handprints on his face. And a little smile.
Sango was the first to speak after that. "Sometimes I think he likes to be slapped. Anyway, Kagome, we came to find you. Shippo was convinced that something had happened to you because you did not come at the break of day with his treats."
"I was on my way when I felt something watching me. I had just gotten out of the well, and for some reason I just could not move. It was like something was compelling me to stay. I can't describe it."
"Well," Shippo said while digging through Kagome's yellow pack "Inuyasha thought coming here was stupid because he knew you were coming. So I came, and Sango and Miroku tagged along." He leaped out of the pack with his prize in hand: a spinning cherry sucker. Bouncing around on the ground, he tore off the wrapper and began to enjoy his treat.
"Inuyasha knew I would come, so didn't even bother to see what was keeping me? Why that dog breath! He didn't even care. I could have been killed by some demon alone out here and he didn't even care enough to see if I was okay. That..."
Just then Inuyasha came bounding into the clearing. He does care, she thought. But then she noticed that he was not looking for her, or at her. His eyes were scanning the area and he was sniffing the air. "Where is he?"
"Who?" Sango said for everyone else.
Inuyasha dashed to the very spot where Kagome had seen movement moments before. "He was here all right. This place reeks of him." He sniffed the ground below the perching tree and turned towards the right. "He was waiting here, but what for?"
"Something was watching me up there. I could feel it the moment I climbed up out of the well." Inuyasha turned to Kagome finally, and looked at her strangely. As he still did not answer Sango's question, Kagome repeated it. "Inuyasha, who was waiting here?"
He turned back to the right, where his nose was telling him his prey had gone. "Sesshomaru. He was here. Watching you."
Lord Sesshomaru took to the skies the moment Kagome's friends had come to the clearing, and shortly before Kagome had tried to shoot Miroku. He knew there was something strange about that girl, and he had followed her from a distance last night as she left the old miko's hut and returned to that sacred well. He saw her climb down into it; the well that the local people had referred to as the Bone Eater's Well. He looked into the well shortly after she went into it. She had disappeared. There was not a trace of her.
He had spent the night perching in a high tree, deflecting his scent from reaching his hanyou brother's irritating nose. He did not sleep, but tried to figure out why that wisp of a girl would jump into a well that eats demons and disappear. Was she a demon? No. I have picked up her scent several times and she was definitely a human. A miko with a large amount of untapped potential, but definitely a human. So why did she go into the well? Maybe she was the demon eater, the thing in the well that ate the bodies of dead demons. Again, no. I know from experience dealing with her in battle that she was not the sort to do anything like that. She only resorted to violence after incessant pleading and whining had not worked. So he stayed, sure that she would return from that well.
And she had. He was surprised to see her climb out of that well, but noticed that a brilliant blue flash of miko power emanated from the well shortly before her return. Interesting. A puzzle that I cannot solve. Yet. He wanted to find out more, because she seemed to be a weapon that Inuyasha may be able to use against him. But, she had sensed his presence. This again surprised him. Humans did not detect Lord Sesshomaru. But she had sensed it immediately, even if she had not known it was him. She had been afraid at first, he had smelled her fear. But, it was quickly replaced by courage; purposely replaced. This girl is slowly learning how to use her powers. She could indeed become a powerful weapon in Inuyasha's arsenal. This will never do.
When the girl challenged him to come out by calling him a coward, he had slowly leaped down from his perch, but decided against it when her friends had come into the clearing. He took off to the right, to return to the camp Jaken had set up with Rin and Ahun. He did not want to fight now. He wanted to learn where the girl had gone to. She had definitely gone somewhere, because she returned with a bag overflowing with food and other things. I will have to meet her when she is more vulnerable. Sometime when she is not surrounded by her associates. He smiled as he planned a way to do just that.