This was one of those fics that was simply a joy to write. It all fell together in my head and went from there. This story was written for Qem at the livejournal community iyflashfic, where she requested the pairing Inu-Yasha/Kagura.

For extra clarification: in episode 82 in the anime, just after Naraku vanishes, Kagome travels to her time, Inu-Yasha soon following her. This fic assumes that he never leaves the feudal era, thus making it an AR.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Dominance and Predominance

Life without orders is supposed to be exciting.

Life without restraints is supposed to be dazzling.

Life without Naraku is supposed to be amazing.

Life as a whole is supposed to be wonderful, fantastic, brilliant, free.

But it is not.

And she is not.

Kagura sighs and idly rotates her fan, creating enough wind to move the fallen leaves at her feet. She's begun to dislike the autumn, for all is dead, and thus her surroundings lack life which lacks brilliance which lacks freedom. Then again, Kagura's never liked much to begin with.

Take Sesshô-maru, for example.

Sesshô-maru is arrogant and cold, just as she is and she can be. He's overconfident, self-possessed, walks about with a high-and-mighty, you-can't-hurt-me air. Truth be told, she does, too.

And truth be told, she knows she inherited this from her creator.

The mere thought of Naraku causes Kagura to flick her wrist upward and turn away from the leaves blowing about her. That's right.

She dislikes—no; hates—Sesshô-maru because he reminds her of Naraku, and he in turn reminds her of herself.

Damn him to hell.

She closes her eyes and listens to the sound the leaves make as they crawl their way through the air. It's a familiar noise, one that pricks at the back of her memory and calls its name out to her in the cavern that is her mind, echoing and echoing without cessation. Being unable to place it, she turns her thoughts to other things.

Things such as the "great" Sesshô-maru-sama's younger brother.

A grimace rises to swollen red lips.


Descriptions of him bubble up from Kagura's throat and breach the surface of her mouth when she think-whispers the name. "Feral. Violent. Moronic. Free."

The hand around her fan turns white from its grip.

Inu-Yasha is as wild as the wind and achieves a certain resemblance to it that Kagura herself has yet to master.

Inu-Yasha is stupid, and so are the decisions he makes, but still, he can make them as she can not.

Inu-Yasha lets his head rule his heart always, and Kagura envies him because she lacks a heart to do so.

She hates him.

She hates Inu-Yasha more than his brother because he is everything that she is not.

Kagura creates an extremely strong gust of wind now and listens to leaves as dead as the bodies she manipulates scuttle across the ground.

Scuttle like spiders

The mark on Kagura's back burns at the thought, and she crushes the leaves beneath her with a scowl.

Inu-Yasha sits apart from his companions, the downward curve of his mouth a clear indication of his mood. Naraku is gone, Kagome had told him. We should be celebrating. And inwardly, Inu-Yasha is.

But still, his eyes do not smile, for Naraku may be gone but he is still not dead.

When Inu-Yasha wants something, whether it is an event or a material object, he must obtain it with his own two hands and it must be definite and pure. He can not accept Naraku's disappearance, therefore, because it does not mean that the enemy of human and youkai alike is not a threat. His absence won't lay Kohaku's spirit to rest, won't keep the Kazaana from tearing itself wide…

…won't quench Inu-Yasha's thirst for vengeance.

Inu-Yasha clenches his fist, and immediately after the movement is made, a breeze picks up and runs its fingers across the hanyou's ears. He relaxes. The wind is his pacifier, the mother that thumbs away his sorrows and whispers wordless happiness to him.

He smiles as he decides that he wants the wind, too.

The wind, the soothing squall that is accepted as hanyou are not.

It must be his. Only his.

He wants to control it, wield more power over it than the Kaze no Kizu allows him to, make it his and make it beautiful.

With that command, that dominance, perhaps he'll be as accepted as the fall air.

He closes his eyes and feels acceptance kiss his face, content to wait for once in his life as the wind threads still-green leaves through his hair.

Kagura is a living contradiction, riddled with ironies and life's little discrepancies. She can breathe and move and function, though nothing beats life! life! life! in her chest. She is bitter and sarcastic, but when faced with the "kukuku" of her poisonous master, she will (grudgingly) bow and obey.

Kagura's body is bound to Naraku by invisible chains, and yet her lips are very, very free.

This is why the desire to talk evolves into a necessity for her, one that, under Naraku, can not be fulfilled and causes her to die though her heart beats on.

(Isn't life just so damn ironic?)

After all, even with her creator-manipulator gone as if he'd never been, there is no one for her to talk to.

She's tried talking to Kanna, the physical manifestation of a girl not-there. Of course, Kanna very well can't hold a conversation. She is nothing to Kagura's something, and while Kagura spouts inane nothingness all the time, Kanna feels no need to encourage her displays of absurdity.

Left with no choice, Kagura buries her teeth into her lip flesh, straddles the wind on a feather, and watches.

Kagura is a woman who believes strongly in the practice of getting to know one's enemies. It's what has kept her around Naraku for so long. Inu-Yasha, being the only other person who she hates almost as much, seems to be the ideal one to stalk. A snap of her fan masks her scent, and Kagura takes shelter in a yellow and green tree, her pointed ears picking voices out on the wind.

Some distance before her, white hair mixes with black robe as the windstorm surrounding the two figures she's watching blows to its climax. Hanyou and houshi are standing there, alone together. How touching. She listens to them talk of something; the subject matters not. For all she knows, they are discussing nothing.

For all she knows, they are discussing her.

Kagura dismisses the Inu-Yasha-esque stupidity of that notion, entertaining herself otherwise by jangling the rings on Miroku's staff. At one point, Inu-Yasha's ears perk up and, suspecting something, he whips around. It is all Kagura can do to keep from laughing sardonically when the monk tells him to relax. "Just enjoy the fall breeze."

He turns away from her, and in her tree, Kagura pouts like a little girl whose attention span has dried. She hates Inu-Yasha; this she knows. But it doesn't stop her from envying him.

All she does and all she can do is watch him.

As with every other damn thing, it is her only choice.

But maybe… maybe, if she watches enough, she'll get better at pretending. Pretending that she is him. Pretending that she is free.

The pout dissolves.

Inu-Yasha might be unintelligent, but he is too stubborn to admit that he is stupid. He knows that Kagura thinks that she's far above him, in spite of the fact that she all but wears a ball and chain about her ankles, and he knows that she has been watching him. Inu-Yasha is aware that Miroku can sense her presence, too and that his companion is perceptive enough to pick up Kagura's poorly-hidden scent.

Keh. Stupid bitch.

More than anything, it's amusing to him that Kagura thinks she's one step ahead of everyone else, when in all reality, she's huffing and puffing along on the road of Life, too tired to keep up with Earth's other occupants.

It's pitiful, really.

And that's precisely why Inu-Yasha allows her to believe that she is hidden and that he doesn't know of her being there.

He grunts, swatting at the strangely-pigmented leaves scraping against his face. Thinking in abundance about an unwelcome topic has never been good for his temples, and Kagura is about as welcome as a case of fleas.

But… is she really?

Inu-Yasha's limited acuity has picked up on the fact that Kagura's watching him is not hostile. She does not intend to attack him, nor has she come to counsel on a political basis regarding the elimination of Naraku. Instead, he is only conscious of the sound her fan makes when is cuts through the air and the resulting wind that embraces him like a long-lost friend.

I like the wind.

It is not the first time he thinks this.

He likes it when the wind weaves its way through his hair, when it carries pleasant scents his way…

…when it bends in his direction and allows him to manipulate it.

Again, Inu-Yasha is not stupid; he knows the wind he lusts after so can never be harnessed completely. But then, neither can Kagura. Still, Inu-Yasha is stubborn, and so he is determined to find a way to gain dominance over the thing he likes most.

He will dominate the wind in the way Kagura wants to dominate herself.

Temporarily satisfied, he nods and walks with Miroku back to camp, taking care to trample as many leaves along the way as he possibly can. He takes pleasure in the way they break apart when their unfortunate frail bodies become sandwiched between the ground and his foot.

Kagome is thinking, as she is wont to do. That, and she's staring down, down, down into a well that she likens to a mouth trying to swallow her whole and pull her into a place she calls not-home.

She thinks, curls her fingers around the near complete jewel in her hand, wonders whether hurling herself between the lips of the monster before her yet again will make any difference. The only Shikon shards that have yet to be collected belong to Koga and Kohaku, and both un-men will be needed to defeat Naraku. Of this she is aware, just as she is of the fact that she must make amends for shattering the Shikon no Tama in the first place.

But then she thinks of the gendai, and faces float into her mind as sticks float down a river. There's Souta, now, and Mama and jiichan… Eri, Yuka, Ayumi… and Hojo, all by himself, the rotting log thrust into a stream by a child's push.

He's waiting for her and all the thinking in the world won't make Kagome's newest dilemma any easier.

She groans, defeated, and half-wishes that something—anything—nothing—will come along to sway her, to decide for her whether or not her obligations in the past take precedence over teenage normality, over staying with her family and a boy that she can teach herself to love, over…

Her thinking jars to a stop.

The jewel is glowing bright in her hand, for her half-wish is still a wish.

It is autumn, and thus it is windy. A draft has been blowing into the well house since summer's timely death, so Kagome has since gotten used to the cool-smelling wind.

But the next gust she feels is especially cold, and Kagome curses herself not for the first time for not wearing pants. Goosebumps prickle down her skin and she shivers, instinctively wrapping her arms about herself.

During the motion, either her fingers slip or the wind pries the jewel from a hand gone ice. It is uncertain as to which it is. Perhaps it's both. Perhaps it's nothing.

But the something that is assured is that the Shikon Jewel is traveling from the miko to the belly of the hungry monster, clattering at the bottom of the well with a deafening quiet.

The well house glows pink, but all Kagome can see is white.

Within hours, she arises again in bed, and within days, the unsightly bump on her head vanishes.

It takes her family a week to convince her that it's not her fifteenth birthday.

Seconds after Kagome's final plummet down the Bone Eater's Well, Kagura's eyebrows quirk with interest. She knows something is different; she can tell by the change in the wind's direction and the way the leaves dance excitedly in the sky.

Change is good, she remembers, smiling, so maybe something good has just happened…

For the next few days, whenever Inu-Yasha closes his eyes, all he can see is green. This strikes him as odd; nearly all of the trees have lost their characteristic color and the grass is withering in preparation for the winter. He suspects it will snow soon.


He likes the snow.

But not nearly as much as he loves the wind.

When all of the leaves have fallen from their branches and the reign of green is over, Kagura watches Inu-Yasha again. But this time is different, for she leaves her scent open, twirling her fan in such a way that her aroma fills his nostrils as she floats down before him.

He does not see her approach.

He only notices her fan.

And, suddenly, his unintelligent mind begins to perceive and conclude.

Kagura uses the fan to control the wind, the wind he loves to control and loves to love. If he could grab ahold of that fan, he will hold power and acceptance in his hands, cradle the things he wants most.

Inu-Yasha is much too stubborn to be civil about matters as pressing as this, and so he lunges forward to snatch it up.

Kagura grunts, frustrated that Inu-Yasha is yet again throwing his freedom to be a moron in her face.

But then his claws graze her glowing cheeks, and an illusion forms itself in her mind along with a burning sensation in her not-heart.

Even with Naraku temporarily gone, she cannot be free.

But maybe, maybe if she touches Inu-Yasha, the beacon of impertinence, she can pretend that she is him; that she is free.

Inu-Yasha does not feel her hands knot into his shirt, isn't even aware of his breath being cut off as her thick red mouth presses against his chapped one. He's still grabbing for the fan now lying limp on the ground, blind to the reality that his is not in control of the wind.

In fact, it is the wind that is in control of him.

She clasps his still-groping hands and feels the press of a near-round ball fished from the bottom of a well against her skin. Not knowing what she is doing, she half-wishes that she could be like the man she is with now as she pulls him more tightly toward her.

The jewel glows bright in her hand, for her half-wish is still a wish.

The shine subsides after no more than five seconds, and it is not long after this that Kagura jerks herself away from the wind-starved hanyou. She smacks her lips noisily, unable to believe her actions or her ears.

But she knows what she has done and what has happened.

As unreal as they seem to her, Kagura knows. She knows she's touched Inu-Yasha and that that hadn't made her feel free at all, but knows as well that the something that presently beats life! life! life! in her chest does.

Inu-Yasha's hands fall to his sides like the discarded fan and he realizes for the first time that the woman before him isn't green. He also recognizes that the jewel's all but been wasted, turning his hope of becoming a full demon into nothing more than a distant half-wish.

But maybe…

…maybe, if he stays close to Kagura, he can pretend that it's not, that his dreams haven't been crushed beneath life's foot like fallen leaves.

Inu-Yasha and Kagura look at each other, really look, see nothing and something and everything.

They hate each other; this they know.

But it doesn't stop them from pretending they don't.

And, as they kiss, the wind weaves sweet nothingness through their tangled hairs.

It never occurs to either of them just how ironic life really is.

Kagome stretches before the well house, her mind surprisingly clear for a girl who is always thinking. She is waiting for Hojo—her Hojo—the boy bearing tea to moisten her lips and a dry mouth for her to moisten.

And, of course, he'll be bringing to her medicinal herbs for the ache that's been pounding pain! pain! pain! in her skull since her fifteenth-birthday-but-not. Since she awoke that afternoon after falling down the well—why was I even there? she wonders—the soreness hasn't gone away.

But then neither have Hojo's perpetually parched lips, and she rather enjoys those.

She smiles.

Life may be confusing sometimes, but so long as he's there, she can manage to live it out.

A chill wind suddenly blows through her, and she shivers, glad that for once, she is wearing pants. The gust yanks leaves from Goshinboku like a child does his sister's hair, and they are carried toward her, riding the wind, passengers on train.

But they do not touch her.

Whenever a breeze stirs itself up, shoos the crumbling once-things her way, they seem to stop in midair, defy their commander the wind, and dissolve into nothing.

Kagome is pretty sure that it means something, that this must be some irony or one of life's little discrepancies, but her head hurts so much from her cranial heartbeat she cannot think.

But still…

There's Hojo now, and she grins as she dashes toward him, kicking up scattered leaves as she leaps into his arms.

…I can't help but feel…

…that maybe something good has just happened…

Hojo does not take his arms from her as he leads her away from her home. The two turn their backs on the stilling air, on the leaves that float toward the ground and crumple themselves up into something-nothing.

They scuttle no more.
End fic.

As always, I love receiving reviews. If you have anything constructive to say, I'd love to hear it! Thank you very much for reading.