Kagome couldn't believe her eyes. She blinked over and over again, wondering if this was just some illusion. It had to be, right? Why would Inuyasha want to come out here and train with her?
Never mind that. She wasn't training with him; she was fighting with him from what the rules had stated.
She wanted to believe it was some kind of illusion but her senses told her differently. No matter how she turned the situation around in her mind she couldn't prove that it wasn't him. His aura was the one she had always known.
The hanyou approaching her waved at her with a smile; his eyes calmly watching her as he continued on his trek across the wide open stadium floor. He looked like he was ready for this, not nervous at all.
Although, she wouldn't blame him if he wasn't nervous. She wasn't exactly the most threatening mage in the area… or the world… Her powers couldn't be considered offensive by anyone unless she was assisted.
He was coming closer and Kagome didn't know what to do. She could only stand there and watch his arrival. He finally made it, standing about five feet away from her. But now he was different from what she had seen of him farther away.
He was emotionless.
She opened her mouth, different questions spinning around in her head. It closed and opened like a fish until the tension in the air weighed too greatly on her.
"Inuyasha," she forced out, looking directly at his blank face. What was wrong with him? "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be…up there…" she trailed off.
He remained silent. Blue eyes scrutinized his face; it was as if he hadn't heard a word she said. And she knew that was impossible with those ears of his. He wouldn't pretend to not hear her like that. It was times like this where he would take the chance to say something sarcastic.
But there was nothing… He only stood there and stared.
That golden, blank stare was unnerving. She wasn't stupid, something was up.
And she was going to find out what.
"Begin," Sango's voice rang out over the loud speaker.
All thoughts of trying to figure out the problem flew from her mind. Kagome's senses snapped to attention, catching the quick motion of Inuyasha's hand as it rose and moved to come down.
She wasn't gonna let that happen.
Quickly, Kagome jumped back, watching as the clawed hand impacted to the ground due to her absence. She squinted at him, analyzing his movements in an effort to see what she was up against.
Inuyasha fighting was something that she had never witnessed.
The hanyou pulled his claw out of the ground, baring the sharp nails as Kagome almost flinched at the sight of them. His golden eyes bore into her as she stared back, frozen. A shiver ran down her spine as she concentrated on her next move.
A breeze blew through her hair as she closed her eyes quickly. A feeling of weightlessness took over her as she opened them and landed on the ground. Her blue eyes now burned into Inuyasha's back because of her transportation. The next move went through her mind as she poised herself to go on the offensive (or what she hoped was offensive).
What she didn't anticipate were the golden stares from the hanyou to appear only inches away from her face.
Miroku paced down the flight of stairs, careful not to trip over a step because of his haste. He had just been retrieving his stuff from one of the many conference rooms in the stadium when he chanced a look out the window. Needless to say that he was surprised that Inuyasha and Kagome's match had come so quickly, but frowned as he thought of the struggle it took Kaede to convince him to do this.
He had heard Sango's announcement over the speaker and knew the rules, but he didn't know what exactly Kaede was expecting out of this.
"Begin," he heard Sango's voice command over head.
He was just about to walk away from the window and watch the most likely strange match between his two confused friends downstairs when something akin to an explosion caught his ears. His eyes darted out to the window as he backed up to catch the full view of the occurrences.
Kagome was surprised, wide-eyed and everything. She stood there and stared at her hanyou friend, trying to decipher what was going on.
As was he.
To him, it looked like Inuyasha had just attacked Kagome without holding anything back, which would explain why his hand was in the ground. He could only blink. That wasn't something Inuyasha would do.
Inuyasha wouldn't attack with everything he had unless he was in serious danger. He wouldn't pull something like that on a friend, Kagome especially. At least, the one he knew wouldn't do that.
He watched as Kagome teleported herself behind her opponent. But it surprised him when Inuyasha suddenly appeared in front of her and attempted to strike again.
That was when he rushed out of there.
Miroku grabbed the railing as he swung himself around to run down the next flight of steps. It didn't take long until he spotted the room he was looking for, the one right beside the last flight of stairs.
The room with the window where Sango was supposedly over looking the match.
The last flight of stairs arrived and Miroku was just about to keel over to catch his breath when he ran straight into the room. Sango and Kaede stared at him from the window they were standing at, surprised upon his entrance.
Miroku heaved a deep breath. It was about 10 flights of stairs from the conference room he had been a few minutes ago to the one he was in now. "Why," he began and took another puff of air, "is Inuyasha fighting like that?" he demanded the old woman, pointing out the window to indicate the intense violence Inuyasha was displaying.
Sango returned her eyes to the scene before, having already received an explanation from the old miko. She understood Kaede's reason, but she couldn't help but think that this was still a bit extreme.
Kaede smiled gently at the boy. "Sit down Miroku, catch your breath first." She suggested and padded over to the table in the middle of the room.
Miroku looked to the window and to the chair, reluctantly pulling it back and flopping himself down on it. This was serious.
Another sonic boom erupted beyond the window. The sitting boy leaned to the side to see what was hidden by Kaede, but all he could see through the glass were dirt clouds. It was definitely not a regular training session.
The old woman stood before her former pupil with a smile. "Miroku, do you know why I called for this training session today?"
This caused Miroku to frown. Kaede always called sudden training sessions on them for no reason at all. If she was only asking now, that meant it was important. He looked to Sango for some kind of answer or indication that she knew what she was talking about.
No such luck since her eyes were glued to the window.
He shook his head in response.
"Miroku," Kaede began, "I have decided to place you and Sango as Kagome's guardians." She announced to him, shocking the lad enough to make him almost fall out of his chair.
He hadn't been expecting that.
He blinked at her as if she had just been raised from the dead. "Guardians?" he repeated mindlessly, knowing for sure that he had her correctly.
"Yes, you and Sango are to be her guardians." She repeated for him slowly, hoping the information would sink in correctly.
The boy's eyes wandered over to his friend at the window, surprise was nowhere near her expression. She was completely calm when she looked over to him to observe his reaction. "I don't know about you but I've already agreed."
Miroku's attention shot back to Kaede and he waved his hands surprised. "I wasn't saying that. It's not that I don't want to. Of course I accept, but why does Kagome need us?"
He knew all too well of the guardian concept. Guardians were mages assigned to other mages who were potential targets of some sort of danger. Kagome wouldn't need guardians unless she was in trouble. But she hadn't been in any jeopardy as far as he knew.
That was when he remembered the times she had been absent from school.
Could that have been when…?
"She's been attacked," Kaede informed him with a grim tone. "Three times already in the past few weeks."
Miroku blinked a few times, letting the new information sink in. He couldn't really say he was surprised though, instead he was inwardly berating himself. He had sensed the strange patterns of the wind a few weeks ago. How come he never really thought more about it?
Besides, Kagome was probably one of the most obvious targets in the organization.
Another explosion sounded off from the stadium. This time Miroku managed to catch a glimpse of Kagome before she teleported again as well as Inuyasha rushing to her when she reappeared, claws bared.
"I see…" The wind user trailed off as he tied up the loose ends. "And you intend to place Inuyasha as one of her guardians too?" He asked, catching on to Kaede's intentions much quicker than she thought he would.
The old woman nodded, "Yes."
"But why is he-?" he cut himself abruptly as he caught the glimpse of silver hair in the corner of the room. There sat a girl, silver tresses flowed from her head as they framed her bright purple eyes. Sitting there, she stared listlessly at the floor, as if she were asleep with her eyes open.
She had always been a mystery to him, as well as to everyone else in the organization save for Kaede and Kagome.
There were only two things that were known about her by the commoners of the organization.
One was that her name was Shiori. The other was that she could manipulate the mind.
Miroku realized the situation in an instance. "Shiori's controlling Inuyasha?" he asked, almost disbelievingly.
"That's correct," Kaede answered.
"What for?" he asked, confused. "Why is she making him fight like that?"
"Because I asked her to."
Kaede turned her back on him, padding her way towards the window as another explosive sound shook the glass barrier between the two areas. "I want to see just how determined he is to help her."
Kagome squinted against the rogue dirt flying through the air, blinking from time to time to keep her vision clear. It hadn't been long before she had been able to figure out what was wrong with Inuyasha.
Once the fight had been endured long enough, Kagome had been able to discern a pattern in Inuyasha's actions. She had to admit it wasn't very complicated; it was almost too simple that she quickly assumed it as a trap.
The only thing this fight had consisted of was her transporting and Inuyasha chasing after her. She transported again once he got there. That's where the cycle reached its end and looped around to start over again.
So she resorted to this strategy for the beginning part of the battle. She didn't bother anymore than that. The possibility of a trap was meaningless to her unless she knew what exactly she was dealing with.
Her mind took the initiative and began to contemplate.
It was already decided that Inuyasha would fill in the tenth slot of the training session. Sango had proven that in the conference room when she spotted him. But how did they know that he would agree to take part? They must have had some way of making sure he would say yes.
There was the possibility that they bribed him.
She shook her head at that idea. Inuyasha wouldn't give in so easily.
He could have been threatened.
But how would they threaten him? Knowing Inuyasha, he would probably challenge the threat because of his stubbornness.
There was only one last possibility that made sense. And it made a whole lot more sense than the others; it even explained why he was acting this way.
His mind was being controlled.
And there are only two ways to interfere with mind control: either destroy or distract the person manipulating long enough to lose their concentration, or the victim would have to fight against the control.
She closed her eyes as another bout of weightlessness washed over her. A frown pulled at her features as she concentrated, trying to find the source of the power.
An unfamiliar aura lightly tinting Inuyasha's own was the only thing she could pick up. She hadn't been able to sense that earlier, but it was something that you needed to be looking for to actually notice.
However, the only unfamiliar aura she could sense was the one on him already.
There was no other identical one in the area.
That only left one other option.
He had to fight it.
A gasp tore from Kagome's throat as she abruptly snapped out of her concentrating daze. She had been searching so hard for the other aura that she had forgotten about Inuyasha's movements.
She had completely missed the sudden change in the pattern.
He had just grabbed her wrist, preventing any means of escape for her.
Kagome blinked quickly, urgently willing the sense of weightlessness to take over her again. It never came.
Her blue eyes widened in horror when he spun her around to face him. A shiver ran up her spine. The blank golden stare he was giving her didn't match the uncharacteristic, sadistic smirk on his face.
She knew how Inuyasha smirked. That definitely wasn't him.
Her attention was instantly caught as he raised his claw high above her head. If it was possible for her eyes to get any bigger they did right then. She stood there, trapped as Inuyasha's grip on her wrist refused to loosen. She would've tried to struggle, but she knew it was hopeless. There was only one thought running through her head as she stared up at his lethal nails.
She knew exactly what was happening. Every singly detail she knew. But she didn't want to believe any of it. The notion of being in a training session completely left her mind. Now it was only her and Inuyasha.
And she was going to be killed by him.
So many different things happened in that moment that she almost got dizzy. Inuyasha's claws suddenly began to scrape against the air, falling down on her with the intention to kill. Instinctively, Kagome screamed at the top of her lungs, screwing her eyes shut in an attempt to block everything out. She dully noted the sound of Sango and Miroku's voices shouting for her behind her but she didn't care.
She couldn't be saved now.
She was going to die.
Silenced engulfed the whole stadium. Not even the sound of the air encircling the area could be heard. Miroku and Sango, having rushed out into the stadium when they panicked for Kagome, could only watch their friends as the seconds ticked past.
Kagome's body was stiff. Panic had overwhelmed her at the sight of those sharp nails. She awaited the pain that she knew would be coming, hoping to brace herself against it.
But it never came.
She chanced a look as she cracked her eyes open… She hadn't been hurt yet… Not that she wanted to, but she wanted to know why.
Her eyes opened completely as she surveyed her now frozen friend in front of her… Well, almost frozen anyway.
He was shaking, trembling as if he were cold. His claws were only mere inches from her face but she didn't take note of it as much as she felt the trembling in his hand as he held her.
She knew what the shaking was and all panic drained from her body.
Sango and Miroku heaved a sigh of relief from the sidelines.
He was fighting it.
What the hell?
That was one phrase that could sum up what Inuyasha was thinking as he snapped out of what he thought was a nap. There were a whole lot more colorful ones he could have come up with but that was the first one that hit him as he woke up to the scene before him. This was something more important.
It was like he was looking through someone else's eyes. But he knew for sure that he was in his own body. A claw entered his vision; he would be damned if he didn't even know what his own hand looked like.
He could see and feel everything he should have; there was only one very annoying difference: He couldn't move.
He watched through his eyes as his body dashed from place to place. Confusion automatically overtook him. What was he doing?
That was when Kagome entered his line of sight, her back to him as he raced to her in an instant. What was he doing?
He felt the sensation of skin on skin contact in his still trapped hand; still unable to move. When his body spun her around to face him he almost growled with anger.
Her eyes were stunned, horrified. They were the same eyes that had stared up at him with tears a few nights ago.
He swore he would never let that happen again. And yet it was him that was evoking this fear in her. But at the same time it wasn't him. A frown pasted itself to his face as he growled.
That's when realization hit him. He was going to hurt Kagome. Why else would she be so scared of him.
"What the hell is going on?" He bellowed what he hoped to be out loud, and yet his voice didn't reach his ears. Kagome didn't seem to have noticed either. She was still staring at him with those wide eyes.
He could feel his claw rise in the air, waiting to harm her in some way that he wasn't aware of. But whatever it was, he knew wouldn't allow it.
Although he wasn't sure what exactly it was that triggered the very strange chain of events. Was it Kagome's scream that rang through his ears? Or was it him instinctively pulling at the invisible bonds around him.
Whatever it was it had worked.
His claw had ceased to move.
"Shiori?" Kaede padded over to the young, hanyou girl in the corner. Her breathing had suddenly spiked at the same moment Inuyasha had suddenly started shaking in the arena.
The old woman kneeled down to inspect the girl's face. A struggling frown was clearly printed upon it as her concentration fought to hold. Kaede smiled softly to herself as she turned back to the window to watch the progress.
Things were turning out just as she expected… Or hoped in the very least.
She was absolutely sure that Kagome wouldn't be hurt in this trial, even though that didn't seem believable to Sango or Miroku since they had dashed out of the room in a panic. Even if Inuyasha hadn't fought off Shiori's manipulation at that moment, Shiori would've stopped.
The gifted, hanyou girl, if anything, was quite exceptional when it came to control. She had such precise skills that, if she wanted to, she could've stopped Inuyasha's claw the moment it touched her skin without breaking it or harming her.
Besides, Shiori was quite fond of Kagome. She wouldn't hurt a friend.
Kaede was glad that Inuyasha had snapped out of it in time. She could tell in that instant that he was definitely determined. The intense breathing that Shiori was enduring to keep her control in check was enough proof.
A peak out the window revealed to her that Kagome had escaped from Inuyasha, but not that far. She stood about a few feet from him as he continued to shake.
Now it was time to see if that resolve could last.
Kagome stood her ground, determined to see this struggle through. She was very aware of Sango and Miroku's presence behind her, but she refused to listen to their warnings to back away. She wasn't going to abandon him in this state.
There was nothing she could do for Inuyasha but to stay by him now. So that's what she would do.
She had only heard about the effects of mind control on a victim. Shiori had explained it to her many times but it was something that couldn't be easily comprehended. And from the very little she understood, the only thing she was able to grasp was that it was like packing the victim into a very small box, locking them away, and taking over the space they had conquered.
She couldn't even imagine being trapped in the way her friend had described. Only the strongly willed people were capable of breaking through.
Kagome's eyes widened worriedly when Inuyasha's shaking increased, scaring the girl like nothing else.
"Inuyasha!" she called out and ran over to him, concern etched all over her face when the hanyou dropped to the ground, his shaking growing even more.
But then it stopped. It had stopped so suddenly that it made her wonder if he had been shaking at all. She kneeled down on the ground next to him, leaning over him to see if he was okay.
There were only two possible reasons for his ceased trembling. He had either won against the mind control, or he had lost and the mind controller was regaining complete control.
"Inuyasha?" she breathed, trying to get a view of his face, but he turned away.
She practically jumped when his hand reached up… only to cover his eyes and massage them. Instant strain had hit him when he returned.
"Kagome?" He looked to her with a questioning look. The smile on Kagome's face was comforting but ignored it for now. "What the hell was I doing?" he practically barked.
The kneeling girl didn't even flinch at his sudden question. "Come on," she stood up and pulled him up with her. He blinked at her, confused. "We need to go talk to Kaede."
Inuyasha slammed the door as he followed Kaede into the room. She had wanted to talk with him alone, but he, unfortunately, was not really in the mood for a pleasant conversation.
"What the hell happened out there hag? One minute I'm answering your question and then I realize I'm out there and I have no control over my actions!" he shrieked at her. Kagome had done nothing to quell his confusion. She probably would have, but at the moment of their exit from the stadium Kaede had called him here.
Kaede was silent as she snaked her way around the table to find the window overlooking the stadium at a different angle. A frown pulled on the hanyou's face. He refused to be ignored. He had the right to know now. "Why the hell was I acting like that?"
The old lady gave him a side long glance and turned back to the stadium, surveying the many holes that now littered the ground. She answered plainly, knowing all too well that there was no way to beat around the bush with Inuyasha. "You were being controlled."
He glared at her, "Why?" he demanded through gritted teeth.
"I was testing you, Inuyasha," she said calmly and slowly.
Suspicion covered his face and he folded his arms. "What for?"
A tired sigh escaped her, ignoring his questions and instead getting to the point, "I understand Kagome has told you about her standing as a target for a killer, correct?"
He nodded, pure seriousness on his face. What did that have to do with his being controlled?
"The reason I called for this training session was to determine who would be fit to act as Kagome's guardians…" she started but didn't finish, knowing questions would be coming. She preferred to play on questions nowadays instead of just talking.
"They are mages or other capable people assigned to potentially targeted mages, like Kagome, in order to protect them."
Inuyasha understood and nodded, "Uh-huh…"
Kaede turned away from the window, "And you, Inuyasha, happen to be the most capable person for the job." She finally got to the point, but only served to confuse Inuyasha even more. She tried for a smile but faltered.
His eye started twitching. "What?"
"Believe it or not, you happen to be the one that Kagome is with the most." She informed, Inuyasha didn't really believe that but whatever. "And because of the last incident, we know that the perpetrator is willing to break into the house to do it. If she's safest anywhere it would be at home, but that obviously isn't the case anymore."
The hanyou caught on, understanding her point, but not completely sure if he wanted to be involved in this. He raised an eyebrow, ready to clarify a few things.
"Guardians protect targets…"
"And you want me to be one?"
She nodded again.
"Why did I need to be controlled, then?"
Kaede observed his face, he was serious. "I was checking to see if you were really determined." Inuyasha was about to interrupt her but she kept going, "If you were truly determined to help Kagome you would be able to stop yourself from hurting her no matter how strong the control was. And that's what you did."
Inuyasha blinked at her, seeing where she was coming from.
"You said you wanted to help Kagome, didn't you? Acting as her guardian is one of the best ways to help her." When Inuyasha remained silent, which was really strange, she added, "Miroku and Sango have also been assigned as guardians, you're not the only one."
Inuyasha nodded blankly.
A few minutes passed, silence blanketed them as Kaede waited for an answer.
"Will you help her?"
"Yes," He answered firmly, having thought everything over in those few minutes. He wanted to find a way he could truly help Kagome. Especially after the last time she had been hurt, she had been so scared.
And what was he able to do for her? He could only comfort her after the creature ran away. And all the other times? Sit and watch as she coped with the wounds.
He had felt worthless, not being able to protect a person that he owed so much to.
That had stung.
Now, he was given a chance to make a difference in her life, like she had his, and he was gonna take it.
Kaede smiled and dismissed him. He nodded and opened the door.
"Inuyasha," he looked back at the old woman, "Thank you," she smiled, warmly this time.
He acknowledged her and shut the door with a click.
Kaede watched as he exited through the door, leaving her alone in the room with her thoughts. She almost instantly plopped herself down in one of the seats around the table. A chuckle escaped her lips as she ran her hand over her face in a futile effort to wipe the stress away.
The way today played out was almost like the last time.
'I wonder if he'll ever find out…' she mused to herself. 'Whether he finds out or not will be up to the both of them, I guess…' A smile tuggedat her lips.
Who knew they would be so similar.
AN: Well, that was a fun chapter. :laughs: I actually had a hard time writing this chapter, action scenes are not exactly the easiest thing for me to write. So I took many breaks while typing it out.
There won't be any updates soon on account of I'm going on a trip. But don't worry, I'll still write while I'm away. I still have a notebook to write in. I'll just upload all the chapters I write at once at the end of summer. I hope you all are willing to wait a bit.
I feel kind of bad that this chapter only covered one round of the training session and only the session. I really felt like I should add more stuff, like what else happened after round 10, but I just didn't have time. I know the story is really lagging, and I'm sorry. You'll find out what else happens when I get back.
And to the people bothering to review: Thanks so much for the comments! I appreciate it!
And for the people who haven't: It's not too late :cheesy smile: