So this was an idea that I had actually after a short review for Immortality by Brucesgirl, in which I had commented on how much I liked the character of Kouga, and I had always wondered what would have happened if Kagome had somehow met Kouga first. This has probably been done before and most likely far better than this, but this is what I imagined. I am going to try and keep the characters as close as possible to how they are portrayed given the subject matter, though I have the feeling that it might get out of control. I give the inspiration for this story to Brucesgirl, who said that she always thought of Kouga as a Knight Errant. This is for you sweetie.
Disclaimer: I do not own InuYasha or any of the other inhabitants of the fine story of Rumiko's that we all know and love. Now, on with the story!
Fifty Years Ago:
He loved to run. The wind blowing his hair back from his face, filling his senses with the smells of the woodland and telling him so very much about all that was going on. He could smell things from miles away with his keen youkai senses, and he honestly could not imagine what it would be like to live without them. He was aware of course of creatures that lived with blunted awareness, animals that were lesser than he and his pack, and of the humans who had the weakest senses of all. He almost pitied them, though in his mind they were little more than potential food or potential danger for the youngest members of his pack. Potential perhaps only, for could not even the smallest of youkai cubs drive off a single human, yet the potential was there if they were to work together they might be able to take down a wolf alone. An almost dark grin lit his face, they might be able to take down a wolf alone, but not this wolf. He was no ordinary youkai wolf; he was a Prince after all and the leader of his tribe now. Perhaps there were some that would think that he was too young for such an important role, but it was his and he felt that he was destined for it. He was meant for great things, it was something he was as certain of as he was his own name. Feared among those humans that knew him and respected among his peers, he had a good life. Perhaps soon, he might even take a mate and give his pack a stronger future with cubs as strong as he was.
He was running through a forest now that was unfamiliar to him, so he slowed a bit to better get his bearings, vivid blue eyes focusing on a figure before him as the smell of blood suddenly hit his nose. It was hot, fresh and still flowing, and it was not the only scent that came to him. The moment slowed as his heel skidded on the fresh grass as he tried to stop, so many things rapid fire coming to him all at once. The smell of the blood, the smell of anger, the smell of tears that could break a heart, the smell of … what was that, was that a dog youkai? He wasn't sure, if he had only had a second more he was sure he would have been able to place it. Sounds rapidly caught up to the sights, not that they made much sense to him.
"InuYasha, why did you betray me!"
There was such keen anguish in that voice, a lovely contralto that caught his attention in those few seconds in which he heard it. He barely heard the sputtered protest behind him and then it all slowed down. Seconds seemed to take years, the bleeding woman with the long dark hair drew up her bow and fired it. He knew the arrow was not meant for him, how could it be, he didn't even know her, this priestess, she was a priestess he realized that from her clothing even though his interactions with humans had been limited he did know this much. Then his shoulder collided with a solid form, a giving form of flesh and his vivid blue eyes widened as his vision narrowed, watching that glowing arrow come at him from what seemed to be a long tunnel. She was a priestess, and he would be purified. No! How could this have happened, he was just thinking about finding a mate and having cubs, he couldn't die now for some unknown offense to this priestess! He saw her face twist in anger even as he felt the arrow pierce his chest, throwing him backwards and into the hard solid reality of a large tree behind him. Thrown back and up, his feet could not even touch the ground as one hand extended in a plea towards his unnamed and unknown assailant. Darkness began to crash in on the sealed Prince, his eyes growing heavy as he tried to hang on long enough to understand why.
A flash of red, violent virulent color, richer than the red that was even now staining the white tunic she wore as she began to collapse to the unforgiving ground. The Prince watched as the figure in red leapt to catch her, a glittering something in one of his clawed hands. White silver hair, long and flowing, here was the source of that dog youkai smell, but this was no youkai, this was a hanyou and the Prince was forced to watch this final tender moment as he sank into oblivion. She was dying, it was obvious and he heard the keening cry of the hanyou as he was telling her that he had not betrayed her, why had she shot her arrows at him? They were going to be together, hadn't she promised him, why had she attacked him? He saw that slight widening of her eyes as his words registered to her even as she felt her life slip away, heard her tell him that she was sorry, that it had not been her as it must not have been him that had wounded her so. There was the cry of a child, a little girl that ran towards the pair and he heard the whispered words of what she wanted done with her body. The last thing he was aware of was that cry of grief so raw and deep from the hanyou, and the broken whisper that followed it.
"I was going to be human for you, Kikyou."
She was going to be late for school if she didn't hurry up. It wasn't that she didn't want to go to school, she liked school and did well there. But this was her birthday and it was already off to a bad start. She could still make it but she would really have to run, wait, what was that? Why was her brother standing there next to the old well house? He knew better than to go in there, and why did he have such a guilty look on his face? The story came spilling out, Souta had been looking for Buyo to feed him and thought he'd seen the cat run in here but he couldn't find him and the place was really creeping him out. Rolling her eyes and with a heavy sigh, Kagome set down her backpack and went carefully down the steps into the darkened well house. It was creepy down here, with those papers that her grandpa insisted were magical on the cover to the old well, ah ha here was that silly cat! She handed him to her brother when she had what felt like an icy shiver run down her back, it was enough to make her pause while her brother took the opportunity to make himself scarce. Why, it was almost as if something was watching her from the darkness, but that wasn't possible, there was nothing living in here but herself and maybe a mouse or two. She heard a rustle from beneath the cover of the well and that was all the warning she got. It all happened so very fast, a voice shouting at her to give up the jewel, what jewel? This was crazy! Hands seemed to grip her and the cover of the well exploded into shards of wood and splinters, and suddenly she was yanked within. A brilliant bluish light enveloped her and she had the sense of floating, her stomach seemed to drop and she felt so dizzy that she could scarce understand what was happening to her. Those hands on her, and the shock of a pale face floating before her own was too much to bear and she screamed at it to let her go as a pink light seemed to come forth from her body and sizzle the creature that held her. She was falling then and landed on soft fragrant grass, looking up in a daze at the blue sky above.
Wait. Blue sky above her, what had happened to the well house? With a soft groan she sat up, blinking the shock away as she slowly stood up and turned around. A rich forest surrounded the clearing and she almost sank back down to the ground in fear. Had she fallen while in the old well house and hit her head? Was she even now unconscious and this was a dream? She pinched herself, the sharp pain telling her what she knew was impossible. This was not a dream, she was really wherever she was even though she had no idea where. Clearly she had to be near her family shrine, yet where was it? Here was the well, open to the sky and as she turned she saw the familiar sight of the Goshinbuko, the God Tree that was on the lands her family tended. Tentative steps took her towards it, it was something familiar and thus she felt drawn to it. But what was that there on the tree, that dark shadow but she knew even as she drew closer it was no shadow. It was a boy! He seemed older than she herself, just turned fifteen today, but not so much older that she could not imagine him at her school carrying books and joking with his friends. He looked so peaceful there, his eyes closed and his dark hair soft around his sharp features. It might have been back in a ponytail once, there seemed to be some sort of furry headband that held it back even now, but the way his head titled forward to let his chin rest upon his chest it seemed to frame his face perfectly. He was so handsome that she stepped closer, climbing the roots of the tree to get a better look at him when she suddenly gasped. He wasn't sleeping, he was pinned to the tree with an arrow! Her hand brushed against his knee by accident and she felt a jolt run through her body, he didn't feel cold and stiff like someone pinned to a tree with an arrow should feel, at least, how she imagined a corpse must feel. She went up closer to him, moved by something about him. How sad he must be, to be trapped here like this unable to move or speak, and he really was handsome wasn't he? Her hand lifted to brush the black hair back from his face, exposing his cheek and his ear, and she noted that it came to an almost elegant point. How strange this seemed to her, and Kagome spent a moment or two letting her fingertip explore the tip of his ear.
"Now that I've got that out of my system …"
She began to speak, even if it was just to save her from feeling creeped out by being alone with a strange boy she didn't even know who happened to be pinned to a tree with an arrow, well, maybe she should take the arrow out? Just as her fingers slipped down from his face to hesitate over it she heard the whistle of another arrow as it went past her face and hit the wood of the tree with a heavy thunk. Then came another and she pressed herself against the boy, turning her face enough to look over her shoulder to see where the arrows were coming from. She heard people shouting at her to get away from him, saw an old woman in strange antique looking clothing holding up a bow as she aimed it at her again. They were still shouting at her and she screamed in fear as another arrow came close to hitting her and the pinned boy, oh my goodness what if these were the people that had shot HIM too! She might have chosen to run, but for the fact that the monster that had pulled her through the well had chosen just that moment to once again attack. It thought she had something it wanted apparently, and it had the attention of those people now. At least they were shooting at it instead of her and the boy, which was a good thing in her opinion, though the sudden constriction of the coils of the monster around her body was not so good. She screamed again and closed her eyes, face buried against the chest of the stranger and her hand clenched the arrow that protruded from his chest. In all the noise, a goodly part of which was coming from her whimpers and screams, she almost missed it. A voice, deep and raspy as if it had not been used in a very long time, asking her a question, a very important question if she would just listen, if she could just catch his words, she just knew that somehow it would change everything.
"Do you want to live, girl? Then remove the arrow."
She looked up, his eyes had opened part way it appeared when her hand touched the arrow, and she could not remember if in her whole life she had ever seen so rich a blue. She panted her answer, not knowing if she could do it, she felt like the monster was going to break her back. Yes, yes, yes … she wanted to live! With all the strength she could muster she yanked on the arrow, and it came out of his chest as if it were expelled by pressure from the inside. The arrow disintegrated to ash in her hand, the arrowhead must have been lodged in the tree because she'd never seen it come out, and surely it wasn't still lost in his chest? There was a deep sound coming from the chest she was still pressed against, a vicious growling like she had never heard in her life until this very moment, then came a victorious howl. It made a chill run down her back, and she cringed, until she felt an almost tender touch to her cheek. She looked up at him then, seeing a strange, almost tender look on that handsome face and his nose was abruptly buried in the hair at her temple. He took a deep breath and then she felt something wet on her back, did he have a knife or something, she wasn't sure, but the monster was screaming suddenly and had let them go. He set her aside and leapt into battle with the beast, her shocked mind taking in more details of him as he moved. He was lithe and strong, though it was clear that his imprisonment had taken its toll when the many-legged centipede monster shot by him to injure Kagome. It had taken a bite out of her side! Blood flowed, and a glowing pink orb was swallowed by the beast. The next moments would always be a blur to her memories, but some bits were like mental photographs that would come back to haunt her in the years to come.
The monster grew huge, in form and power and there was more than a moment or two in which she thought that perhaps the boy she had freed would be unable to defeat it. Yet in the end he had triumphed, covered in the blood and gore as suddenly a figure in red darted in and took that glowing round object, eww had that really come out of her body? Strangely it was the old priestess who had then spoken up strongly.
"Ye have released the demon girl, yet have brought back among us the Sacred Jewel guarded by my own sister Kikyou. Are ye then back among us, my sister reborn to take up her duties once more?"
Wide eyed she looked at the boy who had saved her that the old one eyed woman called a demon, then back at the group of villagers. What on earth were they talking about? Demon, he was a hero in her eyes, he'd saved her and saved all of them, and she stood up and let those words tumble out of her mouth in a scolding fashion, almost missing the softly stuttered "K-kikyou?" from the silvery haired boy in red. She took a step closer to the boy that had fought the monster to save her, feeling almost a relief when his hands touched her shoulders.
"My name isn't Kikyou. It's Kagome. I don't know anyone named Kikyou."
She heard a snarl from the silver headed boy as the black haired demon, so hard to think of him as a demon wasn't it since he'd fought for her after all, put his arms around her and turned her in towards him, a blush coming to her cheeks as she recalled being like this with him when he was still pinned to the tree and they were all shooting at her. It was kind of nice, now that his arms could move to encircle her. His deeper voice was almost lulling her to sleep, and she felt herself lifted into his arms as she struggled to keep her eyes open. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, she was feeling a little weak from the blood loss of the injury she had. His voice was the last thing she heard as she struggled to stay awake.
"You, old priestess, come tend to my woman's wounds."
A/N: Please let me know what you think!