(1) Technically speaking, since the anime ended before Kagura died (I don't read the manga), I don't have to label this AU.
(2) The first three chapters and the interlude are rated "T". In Chapter four, it becomes M because of a scene of torture. After that, I start dropping the f-bomb a bit, because, well, it's already rated M, so fuck it.
Ties That Bind
The Boy Who Summons Demons
"…arise, Kagura…arise, Kagura…" What? What was this? This voice? The last thing Kagura remembered, she was fighting InuYasha. The monk, he…did…something. She couldn't remember. What was this voice? Why was it telling her to arise? Was she asleep? Was it all a dream? There was a pulsing in her heart, that was somehow strange and familiar at the same time. My heart… Then, Naraku was dead, did that mean? It wouldn't have been the first time he faked his own death. "I command you, Kagura, arise!" Who was this voice? Who was he to think that he could command her to do anything? This was not Naraku, after all. "…am the descendant of the great monk Miroku who slew you and bound you to this place. His blood flows in my veins, and with that blood I command you, rise from the dead!" What was this? Kagura wasn't dead…was she? She couldn't quite remember what it was that Miroku had done. She moaned, and the sound startled her. Something fleshy was pressed to her lips, and some warm, thick, coppery liquid was leaking into her mouth. She swallowed, and she recognized the taste of human blood. Recognized the psychic feel of magic thick within that blood. The fleshy thing pressed to her lips was a wrist. It was like the blood energized her. She opened her eyes and sat up. The wrist was removed. She found the owner of the wrist. Her first thought was Kohaku? But no. This boy was a little older than he had been, his hair was cut shorter, and the clothing he wore was…odd. It somehow reminded Kagura of Kagome's outfit, even though it looked nothing like that. "Blood has passed between us and we are now bound. Blood binds us together; resurrection binds you to me; the magic of this place and the forces I called upon to free you from it also bind us together; we are thus thrice bound. You are tied to me and my will until the purpose for which I brought you from the grave is fulfilled." The power in the room flexed like a muscle, and then the boy bound his bleeding wrist.
"Where am I? Who are you? What is the meaning of this?" Kagura demanded.
"It worked?" The boy asked weakly. "I don't believe it."
"If you want to remain in the realm of the living past the next five seconds, you will explain yourself," said Kagura.
"My name is Kyo, I raised you from the dead, you…you've been dead. For something on the order of five hundred years."
Five hundred years? "You said I was bound to you. What does that mean?"
"I…I'm not entirely sure. I was sort of in a trance when I said it, or something like a trance, sort of possessed," Kyo said.
"Uh-uh. See ya, kid," Kagura turned to walk away.
Kagura froze in place. She didn't want to, but her body wouldn't move. "What did you do to me!" she demanded.
"I told you to stop and you froze," Kyo said, awed. "You have to do what I tell you to, don't you?"
Kagura realized that this was true, and she panicked. This was worse than with Naraku. A single word from this boy's lips would spur her to action, whether she chose it or not. With Naraku, often the only choice was between obedience and death, but even that was more choice than she had now. "Why…why didn't you leave me dead?"
"I need you," he said softly. "I need you to do something, and I will free you when you succeed. I don't care what you do after that. Kill yourself, burn Tokyo to the ground, whatever, I don't care."
"Maybe I'll kill you to ensure my freedom," Kagura said.
Kyo shrugged. "Honestly, I haven't thought that far ahead. Hell, if they knew what I was out here doing, they'd up my meds!"
"Meds?" Kagura asked.
"I'll explain later. First, we need to get you some normal clothes, and sunglasses. Make you look human," Kyo said.
"Why on Earth would I want to look human?" Kagura demanded.
"Because people tend to stare when you don't," Kyo said.
"So, I'd rather not draw attention to ourselves," Kyo said.
"I'll kill any human who'll dare stand up to me," Kagura said.
"Um, yeah, about that…not a good idea. If you go around killing people, they tend to make you pay for it. Also, I don't know what things were like back in your time, but nowadays if a creature like yourself were to make yourself known, they'd hunt you down and dissect you, just out of curiosity," Kyo said.
"Like I'm afraid of a bunch of humans!"
"You should be. Humans rule this world. There is no place you can run, no place you can hide. Humanity is everywhere. Our communication nets are faster and more complete than you can possibly imagine. You will be found, you will be caught, and you will be killed, possibly dissected. Don't be foolish, disguise yourself. That's an order," Kyo said.
"Whatever. Alright, why am I here, exactly?"
"I need you to kill some people."
"Why not kill them yourself?"
Kyo snorted. "Who's going to let a kid like me have a weapon?"
Kagura gestured to the dagger in his left hand.
"I mean, a real weapon, not the toys people fought with in your day," Kyo said contemptuously. "Honestly, though, I'm not even supposed to have this. If they knew I had it, they'd take it away from me. They're always worried that I might try to kill myself. Again."
"Who are these 'they' people?" Kagura asked.
Kyo didn't speak for a moment. "I don't want to talk about it. Let's just get you some clothes, okay? Wait here," he left the room.
Kagura realized that she struck a nerve. She was in a shrine of some sort. It looked positively ancient, she looked around, checking it out for the first time. Miroku's staff. Sango's giant boomerang. They were here, tarnished with age. There were clean spots, though, assumable where Kyo removed his ancestor's wards from the artifacts. It hit her then just how long she had been dead.
Kyo returned. "Here, change." Kagura meant to take the proffered clothing into another room or something, but of course, the magic made her take his words literally. "What are you doing?" he averted his eyes.
"You have to be more careful of what you say if the magic is going to take you this seriously," Kagura chided, still changing.
"I'll keep that in mind," Kyo murmured.
"Seriously, what am I dealing with? The people you want me to kill, I mean," Kagura asked.
"Just your basic Yakuza. If you're as powerful as the v…as I was told you are, and are careful about it, I doubt that you'll have a problem," Kyo said.
"So why not just deal with them yourself?" Kagura asked.
"What do you want me to do? Just walk in there weaponless and kill them?" Kyo asked.
"Don't give me the weakling routine. If you're a powerful enough sorcerer to resurrect a five hundred year dead demon and bind one as strong as me to your every word, you are definitely powerful enough to take a more direct rout," Kagura said.
Kyo looked up, remembered himself, and looked down. "You decent yet?"
"Yeah," Kagura said.
He looked up at her again, looking perplexed. "What do you mean, a more direct rout?"
"Well, for the same amount of energy you must have expended hear, you could have summoned a whole army of demons to you from out of the wilderness to do your bidding, for example." Honestly, who was this kid?
"There aren't any," Kyo said.
"What do you mean, there aren't any?" Kagura asked.
"There aren't any. There are no demons in this world in this age and there hasn't been for some time. Most people don't even believe that demons even exist," Kyo said.
"You'll see," Kyo said. He looked her up and down. "You almost pass for human, albeit one without any fashion sense. My fault, I guess. Wear your hair down to cover your ears and put these sunglasses over your eyes." Kagura did so. "Much better."
"What happened to us?" Kagura asked.
"No idea," Kyo said.
"No idea? No idea?"
"Most people don't believe that you ever existed. How can something happen to something that doesn't exist?" Kyo said. "And when I say 'most,' I'm not talking fifty or sixty percent. I'm talking every-goddamn-body, excepting for crazy old guys with a well in their family shrine and the occasional freak like me. It would almost be more accurate to say that no one believes in demons than to say that most people don't, but never say never, you know what I mean?"
"No, I don't," Kagura said. "Look, even without demons to call on, a sorcerer of your caliber ought to be able to bring a palace down around the ears of its inhabitants.
"Really? How?" Kyo asked, confused.
Was this kid for real? "I don't know, exactly. I'm no sorcerer! You're supposed to have spells, or something, though. Honestly, who taught you this junk?" Kagura asked.
Kyo sighed. "No one taught me."
"That's not possible. How could you do something as complicated and delicate as all this with no training? Tell me the truth."
"Hey, you don't order me about! In fact, isn't the opposite true?" Kyo snapped; Kagura winced. He relented. "Sorry. The truth is, I…hear things. That no one else can."
"Voices?" Kagura asked.
Kyo nodded. "Voices. In my head. They're the one's who told me what to do, but I don't like to talk about them. I've always heard them, you see, but when I tell people about them, they just get scared and give me meds. The meds don't work, so the people keep on being scared, and so I just don't tell people about the voices."
"I still don't know what 'meds' are," Kagura said.
"Medicine. In this case, Medicine for the mind," Kyo said. "There are those who don't consider me to be quite right in the head. Insane, even."
"Wait. I'm bound to you, and you're insane!" Kagura demanded.
"No, people think I'm insane, because I hear voices. Obviously, there is something to the voices, or you wouldn't be here, would you?" Kyo said. "If you told people that you were a five-hundred-year-dead demon recently raised from the grave, they'd think you were crazier than I am. You'd be so full of meds that you wouldn't be able to recall your name, so fast that your head would spin. Unless your demonic body works differently than our human ones, and reject the drugs. God only knows what will happen then."
"Um, right," Kagura said. He had a point, at least about raising her from the dead, and it was said that necromancers could hear the voices of the dead. What worried her was that Kyo seemed to take for granted that the voices didn't have ulterior motives, as ghosts almost always did. Was he that powerful that he could bend spirits to his will, or that naïve that he didn't think to? Either way, it wasn't good for Kagura. "So, where to?"
"That…is a very good question, actually," Kyo said.
"I suggest that we go kill these guys you want dead so that you can unbind me," Kagura said.
"That requires finding them first."
"You don't know where they are!" Kagura demanded
"That's probably a good thing, actually. I would have done something stupid, like attack them on my own," Kyo said. "That would have gotten me nothing but dead."
"So find them!" Kagura said.
"That will take a little planning," Kyo said. "Which takes time. Which means we need someplace where we can stay while we plan."
"You don't have a plan?"
"And what if it turned out that I couldn't raise you from the dead? What happens to my precious plans then? It would hurt enough knowing that the voices really are a delusion, that I really am crazy, without having my hopes for revenge slip through my fingers," Kyo said.
He changed the subject. "I can't go back to the hospital, because they'dbe sure to notice my newly wounded wrist, which means that they'll up my meds and restrict my access to the outside world. Maybe I should just face it. No; I'm not really crazy, as your being here proves, so God only knows what more meds will do to me…what? Tell them the truth? That's crazy! They'll think I'm crazy…Oh, I see. Show them. They won't think I'm crazy, they'll think they're crazy."
"Watching you talk to yourself is really kind of creepy," Kagura said.
"Sorry. I'll try to keep it to a minimum," Kyo said.
"Also, didn't you just say we needed to keep my being a demon secret?" Kagura asked.
"It will just be a handful of people. Don't worry, humans are masters of self-delusion. They'll be too busy trying to convince themselves that they didn't just see a demon to do a decent job trying to recapture me," Kyo said. "If they even report it. They probably won't dare mention you, for fear of being labeled mentally unstable, the way I have been."
" 'Recapture?' 'Restrict your access to the outside world?' Is this a hospital or a prison we're talking about?" Kagura asked.
"A little of both, actually," Kyo said. "And not a very good example of either," he added contemptuously, "though, of course, my opinion is a bit biased, you understand."
"Um, sure," Kagura said.
"Well, before we plan anything in detail, I have to know what you can do. So what can you do?" Kyo asked.
"You don't know? You raised me from the dead, and you don't know?" Kagura had always heard that raising someone from the dead, truly raising them from the dead, required intimate knowledge of that person, or some such thing. Ah, well. So much for that theory. "My attacks include the Dance of Blades, which--well, I'd better show you."
They left the shrine, and Kagura froze. The air…it smelled…and felt…wrong.
"What is it?" Kyo asked.
"The air. It stinks," Kagura said.
Kyo sniffed loudly. "I don't smell anything," he said.
Kagura stared at him. "Don't tell me you don't smell that. My nose isn't hypersensitive like a dog demon's. The air smells like the burnt wick of a kerosene lamp without kerosene." Also, the very way the wind blew was unnatural. As a kaze youkai, Kagura could listen to the wind and make sense of the stories it told, but what the wind was telling her made no sense at all. This was the first hard proof she had that things were radically different now than they had been in her time. She couldn't really understand everything Kyo had said, true, but by his own admission people thought he was crazy.
"I don't really know what that would smell like," Kyo said. "I believe you were going to show me something?"
Kagura shrugged. She came out and looked around. The temple was in a clearing kind of pleasant, if you were into that sort of thing. "Dance of Blades!" She intoned, cutting down several trees.
"That will come in handy," Kyo said, eyes wide. He composed himself. "What else can you do?"
"Another attack is called the Dance of the Dead. When I do it, I raise corpses--not the way you rose me, of course. Zombies, puppets who do my bidding and attack my enemies," Which is what he raised you to do. How are you better than a zombie, then? She tried to put that out of her mind. "Another attack of mine is the Dance of the Dragon, which creates a small hurricane."
"Cool," Kyo said. "What else can you do?"
She pulled a feather out of her pocket (where she was keeping them with her hair down) and turned it into a big feather. "I fly around on that."
"Transportation. Awesome. No bumming rides off of strangers for us," Kyo said.
There was a loud, rumbling noise that came close but passed them without ever actually crossing paths with them. "What the hell was that? And don't say 'What?'!"
"You mean the car?" Kyo asked.
"What's a 'car?'" Kagura demanded.
"Imagine a horseless carriage, made of metal, capable of reaching speeds of over a hundred miles an hour. In some cases, way over," Kyo said.
"No way," Kagura said.
"Way," Kyo said.
"But how?" Kagura demanded. "I have never heard of any such magic."
"It's not magic. It's technology," Kyo said. "Behold: the World of Tomorrow." For some reason, that last sentence sounded like a quote. "Impressive, no?"
"No," Kagura said.
"Just you wait until you see it. Try not to look too awed by everything you see in the city. Just a little we can pass off as you being a country bumpkin," Kyo said.
Nothing humans make can awe me," Kagura said haughtily. She put the feather away.
"We shall see," Kyo said skeptically. "I don't suppose you can make this heal faster, can you?"
"No," Kagura said.
"It figures," Kyo said. "Well, come on. Oh, wait, I'd better put this back." Kyo walked into the shrine and walked out unarmed. He walked into the woods.
The calm and incautious way that he carried himself told Kagura that it was going to be her job to protect him. Foolish boy. He didn't order it, so the ties that bound them didn't compel her to obey. If anything attacked and killed him, she'd be free. She soon realized she read it all wrong, however. He was incautious because there was nothing to be cautious about. She scoured the woods with her heightened senses for any sign of demonic activity, and found nothing. Even the natural beasts were all of the small, harmless variety. Then they came across the road, and that alone almost made Kagura's jaw drop. This was not a road, not like they had back in her time. This was a river of black stone poured in a wide line across the earth. Kagura thought she hid her astonishment well. Apparently not.
"If you think that that is impressive, you haven't seen anything yet," Kyo said. As if to vouch for the truth of this statement. A metal horseless carriage sped down the road at an impossibly high speed. There was that noise again.
"That is a car?" Kagura asked.
"Well, that one was a truck, but both are automobiles, yes," Kyo said.
"Automobile. Self-mobile, mobile without an external source of motion. That's a good name for those metal contraptions," Kagura said.
"Um, if you say so," Kyo said. "But for the record, try to refrain from dissecting everyday words like they're new to you, even though most of them are. Say, uh, We're a little distant from where I'm supposed to be, so maybe we should use that feather-thing?"
Was he asking? He didn't know much about this whole having dominion over another person thing, did he? Ah, well; Kagura wasn't about to complain. "Sure."
Naraku had always had a plan before he did anything, and that plan was always meticulous and multifaceted. This kid was making it up as he went along, with no real idea about what he was doing.
Kyo was talking to people who Kagura assumed was his family for a while, and then they all got in one of those automobiles Kyo had told her about, and they drove away. Kagura followed, flying high above them on her feather.
The city below her was…amazing. It was a city of glass and metal, of impossibly tall buildings. What was the purpose of so many so-tall buildings? It was hard to believe that humans had created these structures, but there was no aura about them, or about the automobiles, for that matter. There was no magic involved in this, demonic, spiritual, or otherwise. Which didn't seem possible. How could those metal beasts move, if not by magic? Metal beasts…she had a sudden image of a world full of Ginkotsus, and shuddered. She had only known him and the rest of the Band of Seven for a little while, before they were killed by InuYasha and their own internal squabbles, but even so, he freaked her out. Not that she would admit it to anyone, of course.
She watched as they parked the automobile in some sort of lot apparently made for the purpose and entered a building with bars on the window. It wasn't impossibly tall like the metal-and-glass buildings and it was made out of bricks, which was a familiar enough building material to Kagura. But it was built in a design she had never seen before. And it had bars on the windows.
They didn't actually have a plan. Kyo just guessed--or was told by his voices, whatever--that he could contact her with psychic power and tell her where to attack, when, and what to do. What if that didn't work? He'd be in there with no way to contact her…no way to order her around. Hmm. She realized that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if it didn't work. He'd be safely locked away and unable to give the orders that she was compelled to obey, and so she…she'd be free. Finally, she would be free. Free as the wind. She flew heavenward on her feather. The air was not as clean as she remembered, but no matter. She was free.
And then she felt it. She saw herself going down to the ugly brick building and cutting a hole in one of the walls. She felt herself compelled to do just that, and she did, sighing mentally. "Dance of blades!" The wall crumbled and fell outward onto the sidewalk. Inside the room were two very shocked people in white, a man and a woman, who seemed to be employees at this place, and between them was Kyo. She flew in there and "parked" the feather where he could get on it.
He smiled, and pulled himself free of their now-loose grip. "I told you it was going to be amazing," he said to them, like he couldn't resist a parting shot. "And the best part is, even with this hole in the wall, they will never believe you." He hopped onto the feather, "Let's go." They left.
"Where to now?" Kagura asked.
Kyo thought about that. "There's one person I think I can trust…but I haven't seen him in years. Ah, well. We'll see how strong the bonds of friendship really are."