Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.
A/N: By the way, this is my first ever fanfic, so if all you lovely, intelligent, generous, and helpfulpeople would leave reviews to let me know what you think I'd appreciate it.
Chapter 1 – Odd Encounters
"SESSHOUMARU!" Inuyasha bellowed. "What in the hell are you doing? We are going to be la…" He never got a chance to finish hi sentence, as in less than a second he found himself pinned to the wall with his brother's claws sinking into his shoulder and stomach. Inuyasha howled in pain as the claws in his stomach were ripped out. Through slightly dazed eyes he recognized papers being flung in his face.
"Do you know where these came from?" Sesshoumaru asked, his voice even. Inuyasha shook his head. "It came from what use to be my private fax machine." His claws dug deeper. "Tell me, Inuyasha, why would my private fax machine be producing such distorted images." His half-brother's stupidity always irked him but today he was a little more ready to act on it. Ever since early this morning something in the air was increasing the tension he felt. His youki was picking up someone, or something new in town which was unfamiliar to him, and it was aggravating that he did not know its source.
"I don't know! Now let me go you f--" he got no further.
"You lie, half-breed. Tell me, or I'll start removing chunks of you that even Higurashi will have trouble replacing."
"I was trying to fix it!"
"It was not broken," replied the still calm youkai.
"Well I was trying to replace a part because whiteout got all over the insides and it was messing up the documents to be sent." Inuyasha spat his answer and struggled against his brother's hold.
"Why were you trying to send documents on my machine instead of yours, and why is there whiteout on the insides?"
"I had to use your machine because mine is broken!" Inuyasha choked out.
"What is wrong with it?" Sesshoumaru asked, not loosening his grip in the slightest.
"Well, it somehow got whiteout all in the insides as well…" Inuyasha made gurgling sounds as Sesshoumaru's claws reentered his stomach.
"Inuyasha, dim though you are, you should be able to learn by now that you need to let the whiteout dry before you run the paper through. From now on you are forbidden to use or even have access to whiteout. I suggest therefore you learn to type things up accurately or better still, as any improvement from you is unlikely, get someone else to do it for you." He threw the hanyou across the room. "And remember, do not use my private machines again."
"Why's it such a big deal?" Inuyasha hollered from the floor. "You have enough money to buy a million fax machines!"
"That is true, as is the fact that the next time you damage something which belongs to me I shall start removing your appendages." He released his imbecilic half brother and gathered the papers he had thrown at him earlier.
"Hmph, whatever." Inuyasha grumbled and coughed up a bit of blood as his wounds began to heal. "What the hell is so important anyways?"
"This was from the Americans, detailing the date and time to expect our newest addition. While I can see part of the name, and the point of his arrival, I cannot see other parts of the report which would help in better preparing for this man, Han Kago or whatever it is."
"You've been negotiating for this guy for three months now, don't you know everything about him already?" Inuyasha asked, amazed that Sesshoumaru didn't have everything down to his new recruit's DA sequence memorized.
"Peters has been strangely hesitant to disclose full details until everything was settled," came the terse reply.
"And you put up with that?" Inuyasha asked. Upon seeing his brother crack his knuckles he abruptly changed the subject. Pointing to the incomplete report he made a suggestion. "So call the American's up and have them email you the information, it aint that hard."
"True, but it is an unnecessary waste of my time, and you have already caused me to loose enough of that today," Sesshoumaru replied looking diffident.
"Holy shit! We're late, and you just got blood all over me and put holes in my shirt! I've gotta change and then we need to leave!" Inuyasha headed for the locker rooms located in the lower levels of the large and beautiful building that housed the training dojos and offices of Sesshoumaru's company, an elite and private school for training fighters, assassins, soldiers, the occasional miko or houshi, and whoever else had the money and the talent. All of this, however, was concealed under the guise of a highly influential and lucrative mainstream business called Information Front. On the surface it was a company which did research and consulting in domestic as well as international affairs.
"Once again you are incorrect, I will not show disrespect to Higurashi by arriving late. Unlike you I am fast enough to make it there and be on time. That being said, I'll make your excuses to her when I arrive." Sesshoumaru, ever cool and distant, shot out of the door on his youkai cloud, invisible through his speed to all but a few whose youki gave them heightened perceptual skills. He heard his brother call him some truly vulgar names, but he didn't care. Showing up to his brother's fiancé's house before the mutt arrived was entirely appropriate, and not his fault. Kikyou was one of his most gifted students of all time, and he would not disrespect her by arriving tardy simply because the hanyou couldn't get his act together. Well, the fact that she had agreed to marry his brother made him question just how intelligent, and how deserving of his respect she really was, but she had fought more than one battle by his side, and her talent and devotion merited his response.
The event to draw him from his work was an engagement/welcome home party. The engagement being Inuyasha and Kikyou's, and the welcome home for her younger sister who had been studying abroad. Sesshoumaru knew that Kikyou had mentioned her name, what she was studying, and that she was also a miko like herself and her mother, but that was all he had bothered to remember. He wondered if she would be anything like Kikyou, but he doubted it. Kikyou was an extremely powerful miko, one that he had trained himself, and her kind was one in a million. She had come to his attention four years ago when the aura he'd been tracking for two months suddenly flared (he made it a point to find anyone with strength and either make them his ally or, deal, with the threat) and drew him to a back alley where a gang of brutal youkai had made the mistake of targeting her in an attempted mugging. She had purified all but the weakest without even using a weapon other than her touch, and him she left with the instruction to go and spread the word to others that she was not to be attacked. Sesshoumaru had recruited her after he had assured her of his trustworthiness and capabilities, a task which took more than a little time, and she had been an incredible asset to his agency. In person she was respectful and intelligent. In battle she was cool, calculating, and deadly, rather like Sesshoumaru himself. It would be mildly interesting to see how the younger compared. His own younger brother was no where near as powerful as he, so perhaps it would be the same in the Higurashi family.
Approaching the shrine the odd presence he'd felt since this morning only got stronger, and when he arrived he heard the sounds of battle. Saying that he felt alarm was a gross overstatement, it was more accurate to say he felt intrigued, intrigued as to whom would have the guts and the stupidity to attack the miko on her home turf. He knew it was Kikyou fighting because he could smell her scent, its normal composition was cool and lily-like, but when she fought with her powers the added scent of rain was present, and right now it smelt like a thunderstorm. Also in the air was a new smell, strawberry mint, he decided. An odd combination.
Sesshoumaru walked to the ground beyond the house and saw two women fighting, one was Kikyou, the red and gold of her family's colors emblazoned upon the shoulder and back of her black armor and fighting suit, the other he didn't recognize. She, strangely enough, had no markings on her armor as to indicate her family, rank, training, allegiance, or anything. It interested, and annoyed him even, to know that there was a skilled fighter running loose in his city that he was unacquainted with. What was more, her aura and power were making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, a sensation he was not at all accustomed to experiencing because of another, and he immediately recognized her as the presence that had been nagging his senses all day. He watched a few seconds and determined that at the present Kikyou was not in life threatening danger, so he decided to stay put and see how the battle progressed.
The other girl was not quite as skilled as Kikyou, but he could tell that she was stronger. Her movements, though they lacked the finesse and grace of his student's, were nonetheless accurate, forceful, and he was beginning to see, faster. This discrepancy in skill and strength made them an even match. Sesshoumaru puzzled over the fact that Kikyou was a.) using her powers merely to sustain herself and not attack and b.) the two women seemed to be smiling at each other. Kikyou was not one for smiling, especially in battle. He noticed however, that she seemed to be wrapping things up, and consequently began to use more deadly moves to try and finish the fight. Sesshoumaru had just determined to intervene so he could interrogate the newcomer before either she or his student got beaten up to badly to respond to his questions when Inuyasha arrived on the scene.
The unknown woman had just succeeded in disarming Kikyou, who in turn tackled her. Kikyou however only had the girl on the ground for a split second before two feet in her ribs sent her flying backwards. Kikyou attempted to pull some gymnastic maneuvers to get her balance and recover but the other woman tripped her and had every appearance of being about to deal a blow that would incapacitate her opponent for sure when Inuyasha screamed in rage. Not having his sword with him, he didn't think he'd need it for a party, he opted for his own attack. "Sankontessou!" he shouted and leapt to attack the unknown woman. Sesshoumaru made a move to stop him but it was completely unnecessary.
The moment she saw her new attacker the woman threw up a bright pink barrier around herself and Kikyou, and the minty smell in the air spiked to the point where it almost made his eyes water…almost. When Inuyasha made contact with it he was sent flying back towards Sesshoumaru. 'She is a miko as well? Who is this person?' the older of the two brothers thought. The sensation he felt as her power spiked was odd, like his youkai was both alarmed at coming across so much miko power, but at the same time drawn to it as well.
Not being one to be easily discouraged Inuyasha leapt up and was preparing for another attack when something strange happened. The barrier began to crackle and send little bits of energy shooting out so that it was if they were watching some kind of miniature fireworks display. A green light filtered around the form of the girl and another scent of trees began to permeate the air as the two brothers saw a ball of energy gathering in front of the barrier. Sesshoumaru guessed that she was about to send a purifying blast hurtling at the two of them while maintaining her barrier protecting herself. He was about to move out of the way when Kikyou suddenly called out, "No!" She jumped behind the second woman and placed both her hands onto the stranger's shoulders.
The two brothers watched in amazement as the energy ball and barrier receded into the girl, and then into Kikyou, whose eyes went pinkish-white. For a moment she stood behind the second girl who was on her knees and panting, but then Kikyou leapt forward and tackled Inuyasha to the ground and began kissing him fiercely. "Oh…Inu…you…are…so…very…hot…when…you're…being…protective!" She mumbled each word between the intense kisses she was lavishing upon her fiancé.
Inuyasha was completely dumbfounded, but unable to resist his love. She was a very passionate person he knew, but she never displayed this kind of affection around others, particularly Sesshoumaru, and she was also never one to talk during intimate moments. "Kikyou…" he managed to moan as he slid his hands up her outer thighs to squeeze her hips.
Sesshoumaru arched an eyebrow as he looked at the display. Seeing this side of his warrior was most distasteful, he could hardly believe the woman he had trained and fought with could behave this way. The second woman was on her feet now grinning like a Cheshire cat at the couple. After a minute though she decided to interrupt and said, "Kikyou you should have stopped at drawing the power back into me and not taken so much of it for yourself. Though I'm sure you and this hottie here are enjoying yourselves I don't know if you necessarily want that kind of energy when others are watching." She put a hand on Kikyou' shoulder blade and seemed to draw back some of the power. The pink light left Kikyou's eyes and as she realized what she was doing she blushed. It was the first time Sesshoumaru had ever seen her blush. She scrambled to her feet and stood by the other woman.
"Gomen," Kikyou stated. "I didn't mean to but once I felt it, it was sort of difficult to resist. How do you put up with that amount of feeling all day everyday?" she asked, trying to divert some of the attention away from her actions.
Inuyasha, grumpy at Kikyou ceasing the attention he was very much enjoying, got to his feet and began shouting before the woman could reply. "Who in the hell are you! And why in the hell were you attacking my fiancée, and what in the hell did you just do!" The stranger focused her attention on Inuyasha. He was looking extremely handsome in designer jeans with a black muscle shirt, Italian made shoes and belt. His hair was a little wild from the recent skirmish and it made him look all the more appealing.
"This is my fault," Kikyou said before the woman could explain herself. "Inuyasha I'm sorry, but I haven't sparred with her in so long, so when we got back from the airport this morning we just couldn't help ourselves. I didn't realize how fast the time was going by. We started at eleven and I thought we'd be done in time, but…I guess not."
"It is six pm, Higurashi," Sesshoumaru said in his normal, stoic voice, all the while thinking 'A seven hour session? She doesn't even look tired.'
"Hai, I realize that now Sesshoumaru-sama. My apologies for being tardy."
"Don't apologize to him!" Inuyasha shouted. "It's your effing party today and you can do whatever you want! But you still haven't explained…"
"Who in the hell I am and what in the hell I am doing?" said the mystery woman with her brows lifted high over the rims of her sunshades. She reached up and removed the object blocking her eyes and Sesshoumaru was caught off guard her almost silver-white irises. Another glance told him that but for this feature this woman was almost a replica of Kikyou. She had the same shape face, and the same black hair, but where Kikyou was a little taller and slightly leaner and more graceful, this near-mirror was about an two inches shorter, and a slightly more curvaceous. 'If she is a Higurashi miko then why does she not bear her family's crest upon her uniform?' he wondered.
"Inuyasha this is my younger sister, Higurashi Kagome." Kagome glared at Kikyou who then corrected herself, "Uh, that is, Hando Kagome." The younger woman gave a slight bow and Inuyasha gawked as Sesshoumaru looked at her without expression. The general silence was broken however when Kagome practically flew into the embrace of Inuyasha.
"Nani!" he gasped. Kikyou hid a small smirk behind her hand as Kagome began to gush.
"You were running to the rescue of my sister!" Kagome explained. "You must be wonderful if she loves you, and you've just proven that you'd face any danger to protect her. Arigato!" She clung to him for a few more seconds before he patted her back awkwardly and pushed her away, wincing from the still present wounds Sesshoumaru had given him half an hour before. "Hey are you injured?" Kagome asked as she grabbed Inuyasha's shirt and yanked it up to reveal the partially healed gouges. The hanyou blushed furiously and tried to bat her hands away but she brushed her palm against his skin and healed him.
"Feh! I wouldn't call you dangerous!" he huffed as he indignantly tugged his shirt back into place. He and Sesshoumaru were both highly surprised by the fact that she embraced him so readily when moments ago he was swearing at her and before that trying to kill her.
"Don't be too sure, Inuyasha," Kikyou said, this time not bothering to hide her smirk as pride filled her eyes. "If I were you I would not get on the wrong side of my sister. Had I not been here to stop her, she would have exploded your body into bits and then purified each piece before it hit the ground."
"Hmph," Inuyasha grumbled.
"I only did that once Kikyou and it was right after you made me watch that freaky movie, aren't you ever going to let it go?" Kagome asked exasperated.
"It was just such a gory thing for someone of your nature to do, Kagome," the elder sister replied, enjoying having the opportunity to tease the younger again.
"That freaky snake youkai was about to bite our heads off and you're complaining about the method I used to get rid of him?" she sighed.
"I'm not complaining at all. I was merely making a statement to Inuyasha about the inadvisability of getting on your bad side," Kikyou said grinning. "Besides which you attacked that youkai because you thought he was an alien from the movie!"
"Bad side?" Kagome replied incredulously, trying divert attention away from any questions regarding aliens. "I don't have a bad side!" Kikyou snorted in derision. "And even if I did flaunting it in front of someone I have to make like me since he's my future brother in law is not the most advantageous of situations for me."
"Kagome dearest don't worry, everyone always loves you anyways, now stop being belligerent just because I paid you a compliment by bragging about your abilities," Kikyou replied calmly.
As the two continued to bicker, albeit affectionately, Inuyasha leaned over to Sesshoumaru and mumbled in a sarcastic tone, "Gee, no telling they're siblings, huh?"
Tired of hearing their exchange Sesshoumaru decided to interrupt. "Your younger sister's strength exceeds your own, Higurashi, but she lacks your skill and polish. I could sense it while watching you," he said clearly and loudly.
Kagome turned to Sesshoumaru with eyes that were quick to narrow. "And just who are you?"
"Kagome, dear heart, this is Inu's older brother, Sesshoumaru-sama, demon Lord of the Western Lands," Kikyou explained. Sesshoumaru looked at her with an even gaze and waited for her to bow to him and acknowledge his precedence. He was sorely mistaken in his expectation of the nature of the girl's reaction. There was a brief flicker in her eyes, but before he had a chance to think about what it was she took one look at his tall form, stuck her tongue out and gave him a giant raspberry. "Kagome, what on earth!" Kikyou gasped, a look of horror and incredulity washing over her countenance. Inuyasha however fell to the ground laughing.
"He just admitted to thinking, incorrect though he was, that I was the stronger opponent, and that he watched us for a while. That means he saw that you were in a battle where you did not hold the advantage but rather than come to your aide he consciously chose to sit back and enjoy the show. It all seems rather cold-hearted, leaving a loyal friend and future family member alone to die. I felt his approach; he was here for 17 minutes and 23 seconds before Inuyasha's arrival."
Inuyasha was still rolling on the ground while Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed and the two sisters began to sense the beginnings of anger in his aura. Not only had she just committed a most disgusting offense, she had the audacity to disagree with his assessment of her skills. It was obvious that she was stronger, and he wondered what game she was playing at by pretending she believed the opposite.
"Kagome, it doesn't make a difference, he would, most likely, have stepped in eventually, and we weren't really fighting," Kikyou admonished.
"He didn't say that he didn't think we were truly fighting, which means he most likely believed we were," Kagome huffed.
"Kagome," Kikyou said with warning in her voice.
"Oh all right, all right!" Kagome made an act of shuddering as if she had just swallowed vinegar, then bowed to Sesshoumaru with a thoroughly snotty air and said, in an equally unconvincing tone, "Please to meet you, Sesshoumaru-sama. Now if you would be so good as to excuse me, I must retire to my chambers in order to freshen my appearance for this evening's festivities." She gave another short bow, and turned to stalk back to the house, but not without giving a sly wink to Inuyasha. The hanyou grinned, he definitely thought he was going to get along with his future sister in law.
"Gomen nasai, Sesshoumaru-sama, I am afraid that all her time spent in America has deteriorated her manners somewhat. I believe that her senseis over there indulged her sense of humor, and now she is not used to addressing her superiors with proper respect. You see, she has a maddening talent for getting everyone to let her have her way…"
"A grave fault indeed," Sesshoumaru replied. Kikyou cringed, she had wanted this day to be perfect, but she couldn't blame Kagome either. "I am curious, how did she know the exact amount of time I had been here?"
"Oh! Well you see, Kagome's abilities to detect auras are so acute that each second someone is in her presence is marked by her senses, as a child she disciplined her self to keep track of the time."
"You expect me to believe that creature is capable of self discipline?" the taiyoukai asked with an arched eyebrow.
"Aw c'mon Sesshoumaru, you saw how well she fought, of course she's got discipline," Inuyasha said.
"Of course you would say that," Sesshoumaru replied. "Your own stylistic lack of grace and precision in fighting would naturally, though unfortunately, result in your eagerness to validate the style of one who is so similar to yourself."
Kikyou could sense the argument coming and tried to intervene. "Again my lord, I apologize. Kagome would never have reacted so violently had she not felt her family threatened."
Sesshoumaru's mind was filled with questions as he once more looked at the retreating form of his protégé's sister. He was about to ask one, particularly regarding the lack of distinction upon her armor, when Inuyasha interrupted.
"Hey, Kikyou," he began, putting an arm around her waste, "why don't you go and do whatever it is you females do to get ready?" He slid another arm around her and began kissing her neck. "I could even help you if you like…"
"Inuyasha!" Kikyou gasped. "Not in front of your brother you twit!" she pushed him away and began running for the house.
"Hey! You didn't seem to mind five minutes ago!" he retorted, annoyed at her resistance.
"That wasn't my fault!" she called as she made it inside.
"Come little brother, I wish to speak to one of the elder Higurashi's," Sesshoumaru stated, his calm demeanor belying the interest he felt in the situation. Kikyou was usually as stoic as himself, and he wondered how her sister's presence could be affecting her so much. He also wanted to know how such a person could escape his notice for so long.