Standard disclaimers apply, I don't have any claim to Inuyasha, nor am I making money off this, blah, blah, blah...
A/N: Holy monkey's uncle! Another new fic! o.o; This thing has been sitting in my 'Coming Soon' folder for ages, but I've finally gotten the first bit finished. n..n; It was inspired quite a bit by Queen's "For the Fairest," what with all of its fairy-tale tones. (Really great fic! Go read it! NOW!) So here's my own fairy-tale fic, but with a little twist. ;)
...And yes, I know the title's kinda sappy. It fits, though, trust me!
Chapter 1 - Fly Away
Kagome wiped at the sheen of sweat on her brow as she trudged along, pushing her bike through the sparse forest. The terrain more resembled an African grassland than a forest, really, with only a few stumpy, gnarled trees dotting the fields of tall grass and brush.
Shippou mimicked her movements from his place in the basket on the front of her bicycle, mopping sweat from his forehead with the back of one little paw. He turned weary emerald eyes on her. "Kagome… I'm thirsty."
Kagome sighed and looked down at him, feeling her own throat scratch dryly at his comment. "Can you wait until we stop for a rest?" she asked. "I don't want to have to dig a water bottle out of my bag right now."
Shippou visibly deflated. "Okay…" He slumped down to sit on the bottom of the basket. A moment later, though, he perked back up. Jumping to his feet, he looked out at the forest excitedly. "I hear a stream!" he exclaimed as he leapt over the side of the basket and bounded off toward the edge of the path. Kagome had stopped and opened her mouth in surprise, but Inuyasha spoke before she could.
"Shippou! Don't wander off!" he barked from his place at the head of their group, then muttered, "Wouldn't want you to get eaten by a lizard youkai or anything..."
Shippou froze at the edge of the bushes, his eyes widening fearfully as he looked to Kagome for reassurance. "He's lying, right, Kagome? They couldn't really eat me, right?"
Kagome blinked, unsure of what to say. She wouldn't be surprised if Inuyasha was just trying to scare him, but at the same time, they had heard tales in the village they had just passed of demon lizards carrying off small animals and even children who strayed from their houses. "It's probably not a good idea to go off on your own," she finally said, opting for the middle ground and ignoring Inuyasha's derisive snort.
"The lizards around here are vicious," Sango put in, coming up beside Kagome. "Some can even be poisonous, no matter how small they are." Kagome blanched and looked at the fox child quickly.
"Come on, Shippou, we can stop again when we get out of this area," she said, beckoning him to come get back in the basket.
Shippou looked mournfully at the bushes once more, before turning liquid green eyes on her. "But I can hear a stream!" he insisted.
Inuyasha stomped toward them, fists clenched at his sides. "Come on, brat, we don't have time for this!" he growled. Suddenly, a high-pitched scream cut through the air, freezing them all in their tracks. Shippou spun around as a violent rustling noise errupted from the brush and began moving quickly towards them. The screams sounded again, and then something burst from the bushes straight into Shippou.
They were a blur of brown, green, and blue, three small figures tumbling over and over across the path. Two voices were yelling and screaming, one of them identifiable as Shippou's, while the third was hissing unintelligibly. The others stood shocked for just an instant, and then sprang into action.
Inuyasha and Sango got there first, managing to grab hold of the fighting trio. Shippou broke free and ran to Kagome's comforting presence, while Sango pulled away with a small auburn-haired girl in her arms, leaving Inuyasha with an angry, hissing lizard youkai. The lizard promptly bit into his hand, which of course resulted in a rather hard pounding.
Dropping the now-flattened lizard, Inuyasha turned to glare at Shippou, growling. "That's why I told you not to wand–!"
"You saved me!"
"Eh!" Inuyasha suddenly found himself with the small girl wrapped around his neck, practically choking him with her tight embrace. "Um, what?" he managed, wanting to get her off of him, but hesitant to touch her for fear that she might latch on to anything else that came near her. He looked to Kagome for help, but she and all the others were staring at the little girl's back rather than paying attention to him. He was just about to work up the nerve to pull her off, when she pulled away on her own, clasping her hands in front of her as she hovered in the air at his eye level.
Now he could see what had the others so intrigued: fluttering away on the girl's back were a pair of shimmering, violet, dragonfly-like wings. "Um…" was all he could think of to say.
"Thank you so much for saving me!" she said again, and looked like she was about to hug him again, when Shippou's voice stopped her.
"Who are you!"
The girl turned in mid-air, her wings fluttering, facing the kitsune boy. Grinning, she dropped to the ground. "My name's Chani! What's yours?" she asked, taking a step toward him.
Shippou growled and planted his feet firmly in the ground as she approached, his hands balling into fists. "None of your business! What do you think you're doing bursting in here like this–!"
"Shippou!" Kagome cut him off, sounding appalled. "Don't be so rude!" She then smiled down at the girl, who looked up at her with wide, innocent green eyes. Kagome gasped, finding herself momentarily speechless. With her fluffy red-brown hair, emerald green eyes, and tiny build, the girl looked like she could be Shippou's twin! "Ah.. You said your name was Chani?" she managed, trying to cover her surprise.
The girl's face split into a wide smile, her eyes scrunching up into little happy crescents. "Hai! I'm a fairy!" she said proudly, as if that explained everything.
Kagome smiled, nodding slightly. "I see… So, what are you doing out here all alone, Chani-chan?"
Chani's smile faded like a wilting flower. "I lost my Mama," she said, her bottom lip beginning to quiver as her eyes filled with tears.
"Oh, well, maybe we can help you find her," Kagome offered, immediately sympathetic.
"We don't have time for that!"
Kagome blinked and stared down at Shippou, surprised to hear those much-used words coming from him. A beat of silence passed as she looked between her hanyou companion and the little kitsune and back again. Inuyasha just glared and folded his arms.
"I don't know where she is…" Chani said, wiping her nose loudly on the back of her hand. "A mean lady came and took her away."
"Do you know who it was? Or where this woman may have taken your mother?" Miroku asked, stepping up into the conversation and kneeling down at the girl's height as well.
Chani shook her head. "She just came flying in on this big feather and took Mama away. I tried to fly after them, but I'm not fast enough..." Her voice trailed away as the adults around her all exchanged knowing looks.
Inuyasha was the one to break the silence. Clenching his fists, he ground out the one word they were all thinking:
So yeah, that's the first chapter... Hope you liked! Oh, and, kudos to anyone who knows where Chani's name comes from. n..n