A Time To Fight
Summary: An A Time for Everything oneshot. Kagome makes an effort to solve a recurring problem.
Disclaimer: If you know who the characters are, I obviously don't own them. Ya'll ain't stupid. (There. Texan words of the day.)
ON WITH THE SHOW!
Ah, Kagome Higurashi thought blissfully, novelty of novelties…a quiet day in the Sengoku Jidai.
Folding her hands behind her head, she leaned back and closed her eyes with a smile, basking in the midday sun and the unusual silence. The thatching of the roof beneath her shifted slightly as she wriggled around briefly to find a more comfortable spot. Once she found it, a process that took only a few seconds, she allowed herself to merely relax and let her body concentrate on digesting lunch.
This is nice. Why can't more days be like this? she wondered. And why did I never realize that the reason Inuyasha sits in high places all the time is because it's comfortable…and warm…and so easy to sleep… Her thoughts trailed off with her consciousness as she dozed off.
The sun in her eyes woke her up a blissful thirty minutes later, and she sat up with a grumble, shielding her eyes. Beside her, the half-demon Inuyasha stirred, stretching out from where he'd been curled in a ball so he looked more like a human and less like a sleepy puppy. The illusion was shattered, however, when he yawned, dog-ears drooping and golden eyes clouded, showing that he wasn't really awake and was only responding to her movement.
"Go back to sleep," she told him, hiding her smile.
"I wasn't asleep," he protested out of habit.
"Really?" she retorted, teasing the half-demon. "You could have fooled me."
"Okay, well, maybe I was," he yawned again. Surprisingly, the peaceful atmosphere of the day had affected even the normally (shall we say, energetic? Yeah…) energetic Inuyasha.
"By the way, thanks for the lift up here," she remembered.
"Yeah, well, I've seen you try to climb any higher than three feet," he groused. "It's-"
"Go ahead and finish that, Inuyasha," she said sweetly.
He opened his mouth to continue, thought better of it, and glared at her. She merely smiled back.
"You're one to talk."
Inuyasha declined to even look at her for a while after that cheap shot, but at least the peace hadn't been disrupted.
"I wonder what everyone else is doing right now," she wondered aloud, suppressing a giggle when Inuyasha's ears flicked, first towards the sound of her voice, then to the deserted feudal village below.
"Miroku, walking somewhere in the forest; Sango, finishing putting away the dishes you incidentally left for her; ("Hey, you could help once in a while too!") Kilala, taking a nap; Shippo, right down there!"
Inuyasha surged to his feet and leapt after a shrieking fox-demon cub, who tore away as fast as he could, weaving between houses and sheds with Inuyasha in hot pursuit.
"Inuyasha!" Kagome yelled, a familiar note in her voice. "Leave Shippo alone! He hasn't done anything!"
"Kagome, is everything all right?" Sango shouted, boiling out of the house where they'd been storing their stuff for the last day or so. The demon slayer looked around wildly, one hand on her half-drawn demon-bone sword. Beside her, the two-tailed Kilala, abruptly woken, literally flared to ten times her former size and growled.
"No, I mean yes, everything's just fine!" Kagome called out, mentally calculating the potential damage she would suffer if she leapt down from the roof and finding it too great to move. "It's just Inuyasha and Shippo."
"Oh," Sango said sheepishly, sliding the sword back into its sheath. "Sorry; the quiet's making me jumpy."
"The former quiet," Kagome sighed, regretting the lost stillness as the yelling from the apparently deserted village increased in volume, heralding the return of both demons.
"Kagome, help me!" Shippo yowled as he skidded around a sharp corner, leaping to the roof into her arms.
A cloud of dust signaled Inuyasha's approach, following directly in Shippo's footsteps. Unfortunately, his greater mass couldn't pull off the turn that Shippo had, resulting in a truly colossal skid in said dust and equally enormous collision with the outer wall.
Kagome winced at the sound of the impact, but couldn't stop herself from chuckling slightly as he pulled himself to his feet, shaking the earth off indignantly. Glaring at the fox-cub, who stuck out his tongue impudently from the safety of Kagome's protective aura, Inuyasha muttered something inaudible, and probably very rude, and swept off in a huff. He hadn't gotten out of sight, however, before he swung around furiously.
He hadn't gotten any further than this before the object of his anger showed up in another, substantially bigger, cloud of dust. It seemed to be the day for clouds of dust.
"Hello, Kagome!" the wolf Koga said energetically, completely ignoring the enraged dog-demon heading towards him with murder very clearly on his mind. "Did you miss me?"
No, I didn't! was Kagome's first thought. It was also her second, and coincidentally happened to be her third, as well. Her fourth thought was the one she verbalized.
"Inuyasha! I forbid you to start a fight!"
"I'm not starting it! I'm finishing it!" Inuyasha snarled, putting one clawed hand on his sword, Tetsusaiga. He continued to advance on the wolf-boy, who was still staring starry-eyed at Kagome, though he seemed just a little puzzled as to why she was sitting on a roof.
Kagome sighed, clenching her fists. "Inuyasha, sit!" she shouted. Ignoring the half-demon, who splattered to the floor obediently and angrily, she closed her eyes, trying to draw strength from the warm afternoon air as Koga's followers, two lesser wolf-demons and a pack of panting wolves, caught up with him at last.
Well, it was no longer a quiet day. But at least it was a normal day.
"Hi, Koga," she said pleasantly. "What are you doing here?"
He smiled brilliantly and arrogantly. "I caught your scent as we passed by, and I simply could not resist the desire to check that you were all right. I don't trust this mutt," looking scornfully over his shoulder at Inuyasha, who was about halfway back to his feet and all but foaming at the mouth with rage, "to take proper care of you. Let me help you down from there. I wouldn't want you getting hurt."
"Oh, no, I'm just fine," she started, but Koga didn't even stop to ask before leaping to the roof in one smooth leap and tossing her over his shoulder before jumping down again.
"Oi, take your hands off her, scrawny wolf!" Inuyasha, now back on two feet, snarled furiously, advancing towards him.
"Yes, please put me down, Koga," she agreed, noticing, out of the corner of her eye, Miroku's return and subsequent resigned expression as he took in the scene.
"As you wish," the wolf said negligently, casually dumping her back on terra firma.
"Now, what are you really doing here?" she asked, pleading with her eyes for Sango and Miroku to at least restrain Inuyasha. "Inuyasha, don't make me say it again," she added, momentarily stopping the half-demon, who was clearly torn between opposite desires to first, not get sat, and second, pound Koga's face into a bloody pulp, apparently in that order.
"Really?" Koga asked, trying another supposedly charming smile. "I don't know what you mean."
"You came all this way just to say hello to me?" Kagome said with a sinking sensation the answer was going to be 'yes.'
"Well, I also wanted to know if you had any leads on Kagura," he said carelessly.
"Oh ho! You've lost her!" Inuyasha said triumphantly.
"So you know where she is?" Koga said, folding his arms over his chest.
Inuyasha paused slightly as if knowing he was caught. "No, she's your problem," he backpedaled.
Kagome placed both hands over her ears briefly, wanting to get away from the hostile auras radiating from them, but knowing that if she moved, they'd tear each other to shreds. "Both of you back away, you're giving me a headache," she ordered them curtly, and was vaguely surprised when they both obeyed, giving her almost ten feet of breathing room on either side. "Much better. Inuyasha, not another word, and if you move from that spot right there… Koga, we haven't seen Kagura for nearly two weeks, and I think you were there then."
One of Koga's sidekicks sighed deeply. "Off again," he muttered to his friend.
Kagome couldn't help feeling sorry for the two. They had no way to easily keep up with Koga's Shikon-shard-boosted speed.
I'm crazy, she moaned internally, but, against her better judgment, offered, "Koga, why don't you give your pack a rest and stay around here for a while? There's no one else in the village, and as long as you and Inuyasha stay on opposite sides, there shouldn't be any problems." Her glare at both of them indicated that there had better not be.
"Please, Koga-sama?" the other begged.
"Hmph." The wolf-demon scowled at his rival, who growled right back. "All right. But-"
"No buts! And you will both listen to me. If I tell you to stop something, you stop it, understood?" Silence. "I said, is that understood?"
"Yes, Kagome-nee-san," the two lesser wolf demons chorused. She made a mental note to get them to stop calling her that. It only reinforced Koga's delusion that she was his mate.
"Whatever," Inuyasha grunted. "But-"
"What did I just say?"
He resumed growling under his breath and contented himself with glaring at Koga.
"Very well, if my pack is so weak that they-"
"Koga, give them a break," she chided.
He shrugged as if he was too cool to give a hoot.
Kagome sighed as the wolf-pack scattered itself throughout part of the village and Inuyasha vanished in a massive temper. Sango walked towards her, eyes wide.
"Kagome-chan…did you just suggest keeping Inuyasha and Koga in the same village for more than five minutes?"
"Worse. I offered to police them. I'm stark staring mad. It's official. I sure hope I packed aspirin."
"Yours is a brave soul, Kagome-sama," Miroku offered.
"Gee, thanks. Oh yes, that reminds me…" She fished around in her mind for the two wolf-demons' names. "Ginta? Hakkaku?" she called hopefully.
If those weren't their names, they certainly answered to them. The duo appeared rapidly at her side. "Yes, Kagome-nee-san?" one of them asked. She remembered their names, it seemed, but not which was which.
"Look, can you just call me Kagome for a while?" she asked plaintively. "I think…well, it's bad enough having Inuyasha and Koga in the same square mile, but you calling me your sister is likely to make things worse if Inuyasha hears."
"That's true," the one with the spiky hair said thoughtfully. "For the moment then, you shall be just Kagome."
"You are always Kagome-nee-san to us, though," the other added respectfully.
"That's sweet," she said with a smile. Ginta and Hakkaku were always a relief to talk to after dealing with their overbearing pack-leader. "Oh, and could you do me a favor?"
"Anything, always," the spiky-haired wolf replied instantly. "What do you need?"
"Keep an eye on Koga for me, please? If he goes anywhere near Inuyasha—shouting distance, let's say—please come tell me so I can break up the unavoidable fight."
"Of course!" the other one, the one with the black patch down the middle of his hair said. "Kagome-nee—I mean, Kagome, if they did fight, what do you think would happen?"
"They've got swords, they'd probably kill each other," she said glumly.
"Oh, right," he said, head hanging. "We'll watch him for you…oh, and thanks for letting us stay."
"It's hard keeping up with him," the other added.
"You're welcome," she called after them as they padded off, the seed of an idea nagging at her mind.
Carefully prying Shippo's baby-claws loose from her long sock, where they had threatened to pierce straight through to her skin, she headed for her self-dubbed 'room,' in fact yet another empty one-room hut she'd commandeered once they'd decided to set up camp in the village. As the fox-cub scampered off to play, with a warning to stay away from the wolves following him out the door, Kagome sat down on her sleeping bag and pulled a mere fraction of the not-so-mysteriously multiplying homework from her backpack. Extracting a pencil, she set to work with a sigh.
A few minutes later, she flung down the pencil and rooted through her bag again for the first aid kit. After a few panicked seconds, during which she couldn't find the Tylenol she was sure she had brought, she found the painkiller and swallowed a careful dose to kill the headache that had begun to develop.
She lay back and analyzed the shreds of idea that fluttered at the edges of her mind. It was a crazy plan, the plan of someone at her wits' end…but at the moment, that almost described Kagome.
It was worth a try, anyway.
She would need to talk to Miroku.
They had managed to get through two more, very tense, hours without any enormous fights, although some internal snapping and snarling between the four-legged wolves over food and prime resting spots were to be expected. Inuyasha hadn't shown his face for the entire duration, doubtless enjoying a massive sulk. Koga was, according to Ginta and Hakkaku, alternately dozing on the edge of the forest and searching the forest for Kagura or Naraku's scent in vain. Luckily for his packmates, who were in no condition or mood to run any further, he was hunting a cappella, leaving his wolves to loll around shamelessly
Some distance from the main cluster of buildings, Kagome dusted her hands off and looked with pride at her and Miroku's handiwork. Thanking him profusely for his help, she headed off into the small village.
"Inuyasha!" she called, once she'd reached the unofficial 'wolf-free' zone of the feudal town. "Where are you? I need to talk to you."
She wasn't expecting a reply, and didn't get one.
"Inuyasha!" she shouted louder, putting the threat of another 'sit' into her voice. "I know you can hear me! Get over here! Please!"
Perhaps it was the please that did it. Perhaps it was her tone. Most likely it was simply the threat of a long-distance 'sit.' Whatever it was, Inuyasha appeared sullenly on the roof of a house a safe distance away—that is, out of throwing range.
"Whaddya ya want, wench?" he asked sullenly, arms folded into his long floppy red sleeves. As usual, his grammar and level of civility had decreased with his temper.
"I want you to come down here so I can talk to you without yelling," she retorted, jamming her hands onto her hips. When he showed no sign of moving, she added, "Just because I'm in a relatively good mood, I'll give you a chance to come down under your own power."
He got the hint, leaping from the rooftop to land out of arm's reach. "And?" he demanded.
"Come on," she said, turning her back on him and heading towards the 'wolf' half of the town.
"Oi, I'm not moving one damn step until you tell me what this is all about."
"Fine," she said coolly, turning around. "I'm going to give you and Koga the chance to beat each other up. Are you interested?"
He was at her side before you could blink. "You bet I am."
She smiled, resisting the urge to giggle. "Well, come on. We'll need to find Koga, then."
Inuyasha slowed slightly, scenting the air. "This way," he said, pointing. "Place reeks of wolves, but I know his stench well enough to pick him out."
"Thank you. I was planning on asking Ginta or Hakkaku to find him, but this is much easier."
"Feh; can't trust any of them."
"Oh, I don't know, they've always been nice to me," she said lightly as they approached the edge of the forest.
Koga was sprawled at the base of a tree, hands behind his head as he stared at the foliage. "Kagome," he said with some surprise. "What brings you here?"
"A quest," she said whimsically.
"A quest for what?" the wolf asked curiously, taking the bait.
"Oh, I don't know; peace and justice and all that nonsense you get on cartoons, but at the moment, peace. Do you feel like helping? You may enjoy it."
"I will go anywhere with you, Kagome," he said enthusiastically, leaping to his feet and reaching for her hands, which she snatched out of the way quickly before Inuyasha could do more than open his mouth to protest.
"Come on then, follow me, both of you. And no fighting. If you so much as lay a finger on each other, I shall be most unhappy with the both of you."
From anyone else, this would have seemed a silly threat. Inuyasha and Koga, however, had both endured Kagome's wrath on more than one occasion, and did not want to experience it again at all.
They walked in silence for a few minutes, smug silence from Kagome and hostile silence from the demon boys. Before it could get overly oppressive, however, they reached the isolated hut that Kagome and Miroku had spent no little time preparing.
The medium-sized hut was festooned with sutra of many varied forms, all bearing, to the second sight of all three, the crackles and sparkles of sacred energy.
"Right," Kagome said, turning to face her companions. "You see this hut? Yes, of course you do. I am going to open this door, and, before you two go in, you're going to give me your swords."
Ignoring the budding protest from Inuyasha, who was very possessive of Tetsusaiga, she barreled on, "Then, you will both take a solemn oath not to kill each other, and you will go inside. I will close the door, and lock it. You will then have my permission to whale the tar out of each other." Koga wasn't familiar with the modern phrase, but he got the idea. "These sutra are empowered to do two things; first, keep the hut in one piece, and second; suppress noise. We're all tired of hearing you arguing, gentlemen."
"Sounds good to me," Koga said enthusiastically, pulling his sheathed sword from the sash at his waist. "Go in, beat up the puppy, come out. That's my kind of fight."
Inuyasha glared daggers at him. "You may find that a little harder than you think, litter-runt! Kagome, what about his Shikon shards?"
"What about them? He's not going to take them out, and this isn't a battle to the death anyway."
"Whatever," he muttered. About to hand Tetsusaiga over, albeit reluctantly, he stopped short.
"Kagome," he muttered close to her ear, "I have to keep Tetsusaiga with me, remember?"
Her mouth opened in a silent O. "Right."
The last thing they needed was a mindless full-demon Inuyasha on another rampage.
"Very well, but if you so much as consider drawing the blade," she threatened louder, "Bad Things Will Happen. Koga, Inuyasha has to keep Tetsusaiga with him, but if he draws it, you're to tell me or whoever comes to check on you two periodically."
"Got it," he shrugged, passing Kagome his sword, which she'd never seen him draw.
"Thank you, and no lying," she said to him, taking the sword. "Now. I want your solemn oaths that neither of you will strike a potential or actual death-blow. If the wounds one of you inflicts kills the other, that will count."
"Out of curiosity, what happens if one of us dies?" Inuyasha asked, tempting fate.
She turned an ice-chilled glare on him. "Then I scream at the survivor until he goes permanently deaf, grieve over the loser's dead body, go home, and seal the well via flamethrower."
"Got it," the half-demon said quickly, almost snapping to attention at the thought of such an outcome. "No killing. You have my word. You want a formal oath?"
"Not necessary; I believe you. Koga?"
"I too swear by my honor as pack-leader. No death-blows."
She stared at them both until she was convinced they were telling the truth. "Very well, that will do." She pulled the door open and stepped to one side to let them in. "Have fun," she added before slamming the door and locking it.
Laughing quietly to herself, she adjusted her hold on Koga's sword and strolled back towards the village, whistling an off-key rendition of a song she couldn't remember the name of.
"Kagome-chan, you didn't!" Sango gasped disbelievingly. At Kagome's sheepish nod, she leaned against the wall and laughed harder than Kagome had ever seen her laugh before.
"You think it's a good idea, then?" Kagome asked hopefully.
"When are you going to let them out?" Shippo asked curiously.
"I don't know. Barring Naraku mounting a full-scale assault, I think I'll just let them fight each other into the ground. Hopefully they'll be too tired of fighting each other to keep at it in future."
Ginta and Hakkaku, who had joined the rest of the group in one of the huts, shook their heads in disbelief and stared at Kagome.
"Yes?" she asked them, becoming a little uncomfortable with their unblinking gazes.
"It's nothing, only…" they paused, and everyone in the little hut chorused,
"I can't believe I didn't think of that!"
"Oh, that's such a relief," Kagome said. "I thought you all would think I was crazy."
Not all that surprisingly, it was Miroku who opened the betting. "How long do you bet they'll be fighting for? I bet until an hour after sundown."
"What are the stakes?" Sango retorted. "If they're good enough, I'll play."
The monk thought about it. "Winner gets a full week of uninterrupted sleep. No guard duty."
"Sounds good to me," Sango agreed. "I'm in…with somewhere around midnight as my bet. Kagome? Shippo?"
"I'm out," one of the wolves said. The other agreed.
Kagome checked her watch. "Two hours from now."
"I think they'll declare peace overnight, then be at it again once the sun rises," Shippo guessed.
Miroku had been marking everything down on a small scroll. "What happens if Shippo wins? He doesn't stand guard duty."
"Then I'll go home and find him some candy," Kagome volunteered.
"And crayons," the fox-cub added, pulling at her sleeve.
"Done!" she agreed, smacking hands with him to seal the bet.
Next morning, Kagome was under an obligation, to be redeemed when they next returned to Inuyasha's Forest and the Bone-Eater's Well, to go home and get sweets and a special set of crayons.
They'd all trooped out to the sutra-drenched hut at regular intervals to call inside, "You ready to come out yet?" or some such equivalent. Each time the reply, in either Koga's voice, Inuyasha's, or both in chorus, was basically "Go away!"
Finally, in the midmorning of the next day, which was Thursday by Kagome's watch, the answer was different.
"Yeah. Open the door," Inuyasha called wearily from behind the walls.
Kagome carefully peeled off the sacred scroll that kept the door locked and poked her head inside. To put it mildly, they were a mess. She told them such.
"Thanks," Inuyasha responded dryly from one corner.
"Yeah," Koga agreed from the opposite wall.
Kagome stepped inside reluctantly, trying to stay out of the blood. She looked around, taking in the damage they'd done to each other and the house. Setting her hands on her hips, she snapped, "You know I should leave you to lick your own wounds?"
The two nodded resignedly.
"You know you've been acting like a pair of silly puppies fighting over a bone?"
That annoyed them, but they agreed. Actually, on second thought, she didn't really approve of her own phrasing, but she couldn't really take it back.
"Get this straight, both of you. I am going to decide whose mate I will be. Koga, Inuyasha, stop acting like you own me. No trial by combat. And you should also know that if this petty squabbling between you two continues, we can always hold one of these merry little parties again."
"That won't be necessary," Koga said reluctantly. "But, Kagome, we will never be friends."
"No way in hell," Inuyasha muttered.
She sighed, and looked back over her shoulder at her friends, who had clustered in the open doorway. "What do you think, guys? Should we let them out?"
"We may as well," Sango said, hiding a reserved smile. "Or we could lock them in again and see if they get their second wind and start fighting again."
"Oh, no!" the tired, battered demons chorused, then looked aghast at each other, shocked that they could agree on anything so obviously.
Author's Note: Well, what do you think? I know it's a silly little story, but it was a silly little idea.