Author's Note: This is my first attempt at fan fiction, so please be kind. Flames will obviously be ignored. Also, I will most likely not be using any Japanese terms as the story continues, nor will I use the suffixes. I will probably derive most of the story from the series and movies as I have just now begun to read the manga. For manga readers, keep in mind that I had begun to develop my version of Sesshoumaru's mother before the recent chapter additions. If the pairings do not suit you…well you know what to do since giving me flack isn't going to accomplish much. I believe I've covered everything so far….oh
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. Aren't you glad?
She always found the sound of rustling leaves a sentimental comfort.The gentle swishing conjured emotions of happier times during the changing seasons when her village would hold festivals and she would compete with comrades for small favors. A warm breeze wafted lazily through the trees, stirring the intoxicating scents through the air while Sango strolled along the edge of a secluded pond. The water sparkled with incandescent reflections from a deep sunset that painted the horizon with pastel swirls of light pinks and burnt oranges.
Casting an appreciative glance about the beautiful landscape, Sango had the familiar sense that she had been there before, but could not recall an exact time when she could have afforded such a pleasure. The mossy banks provided a cool, soft place to settle in addition to being just as aesthetically pleasing while the forest behind her gave her a feeling of comfortable solitude. She was alone, though she did not feel alone.
A feeling as if she were waiting for someone kept absently pulling Sango's attention in different directions. Her eyes searched the forest that surrounded the lake for any sign of her friends, but it wasn't their presence she felt.
She jerked to the sound of someone's voice. A strange voice. A voice she didn't entirely recognize for it sounded like more than one.
She turned the other way in absolute confusion. It sounded as if the two voices melded into one. For a moment, she thought she might have recognized at least one of the voices, but the small sound of a child deterred her presumptions. It was the urgency in the child's voice that compelled Sango to stand and search her surroundings more diligently. She began walking briskly along the embankment in a vain attempt at finding whoever was calling for her.
Sango halted dead in her tracks. This voice was different. She turned suddenly to determine its location as it echoed from the forest and bounced off the water to confuse her. The voice wasn't so much a cry as there was need that strained in the strange combination. Regardless, someone needed her help and she was desperately trying to figure out where they were.
"Where are you?" she called in alarm towards the wilderness. Hearing the voice as if it came from the water, Sango felt compelled to bend over the embankment. Surely, it was no water god attempting to play a trick on her as she peered hard at her own reflection.
Suddenly, a tall shadow appeared next to her reflection.
"Sango," was the last that she heard as she lurched up out of her sleep. The last voice was still a combination, but as she heard her name called, Sango was certain she caught the deep timbered voice of a man.
Now all Sango could hear were quick, ragged exhalations and marveled at the realization that it was her chest that was heaving. Placing her hand upon her forehead and feeling the cold beads of sweat that had formed, Sango wondered at her sudden trepidation. Something or someone was calling for her, but she could not imagine who or what. The reflection in the water had been dark and indistinct. When she turned to see who was behind her, she awakened sharply and thus, the identity of this individual remained a mystery.
Once her mind cleared of the fog as she slowly came through her dream state, she realized that this was indeed the second time she'd had this particular dream and this time had not been much different than the last. No particular reason for the dream. It had just come on suddenly and recently.
"Those voices,' she thought. 'I was still unable to recognize them.'
She sat up fully; the worn woolen blanket fell away as she pulled her knees to her chest and rested her chin on her knees in sad contemplation. Her first thought that it had been Kohaku calling for her. She had strained her ears to be certain that part of that first voice was her kid brother calling out for her.
She still had not been able to free him from Naraku. The familiar onset of guilt began to sicken her stomach when she thought of how she'd failed them all. Her father, her brother, the villagers…it was a guilt almost too much to bear. Her mind continued to delve against her will with meticulous detail into the sad memory of the day she'd lost all of them. How could she not have seen what happened?
She turned slightly to notice that everyone was still asleep. Even Inuyasha was propped up against the wall of the small hut within Kaede's village. Sango mused at the half-demon for a moment. She was surprised that she hadn't awakened him. As quietly as possible, Sango slipped out from her place on the floor and tiptoed outside.
First light was just beginning to break over the horizon. The morning air was still very crisp and cool. Sango hugged her arms around herself to ward off the slight, yet uncomfortable chill from having crawled from the warmth of her modest bed.
The dream continued to linger in broken scenes within Sango's mind. She could practically hear the voices calling her name, but the sound was becoming indistinct the more awake she became. However, she noted the urgency in the voices that she wasn't able to ignore what it could mean.
"That couldn't be an ordinary dream," she reasoned. Though she had been raised in a village of demon slayers, Sango had heard the conversations regarding strange dreams and their possible meanings. She had learned early that dreams such as this were not merely from the subconscious as most others that had occurred such as the ones that she continued to have about Kohaku.
Sango closed her eyes and smiled to herself. That voice she knew well and slowly turned to find her friend, Kagome, standing upon the porch of the small hut.
"Yes?" she replied quietly, turning with a gentle smile.
"You're up early," Kagome observed with a yawn and a mild note of surprise. "Is everything all right?"
"Of course," Sango replied casually as she sat close to her friend. She had elected not to mention this new dream to anyone, as she had not seen it as necessary for the moment.
"Kagome," Sango began as she continued to stare into the field of tall grasses that swayed gently with the morning breeze. "I think I need to return to my village for a few days."
That caught Kagome off guard while in mid-yawn. She immediately clapped her mouth shut and with wide eyes, leaned back to study her friend more carefully. She knew then something had to be wrong. She knew Sango chose to stay at her village when she felt troubled. Sango had often said that though the village held painful memories somehow she always managed to come away feeling comforted and more grounded.
"But why?" Kagome asked found herself asking, hoping to pull something from her friend.
A genuine look of confusion overcame Sango's face as she turned her gaze towards Kagome. "I'm not certain, but I feel as though something is calling for me. Perhaps if I visit, things will calm down."
"Calm down?" Now Kagome's concern had leaped to new questions. Before she could utter a word, Sango was already gathering Kirara and her gear. "Sango? Please, tell me what is going on?" Kagome pleaded.
She was strapping on her Hiraikotsu and climbing onto the transformed demon feline.
Sango politely ignored Kagome's request and smiled gently at Kagome's worried expression.
"I have to figure this out on my own," she said finally. "It isn't something anyone can help me with. Take care and I should return in a few days."
With that, a nudge from Sango's heel and Kirara was ascending into the brightening sky while Kagome could do nothing more than look on with concern and confusion.
"Where's she goin'?" Inuyasha yawned as he appeared in the open doorway.
"To her village or so she says," Kagome replied with uncertainty.
Inuyasha merely grunted. "Eh, probably wantin' to pay her respects. Oh well, she'll catch up with us eventually," he said all too casually as he disappeared back inside the small hut.
Kagome felt her eyes furrow and her lips pucker in disbelief. Now she was for certain that they'd entered into a parallel universe if Inuyasha was calmly accepting Sango's departure with little more than a grunt.
With one glance back towards the fading images of Sango and Kirara, Inuyasha yawned once more. He wasn't at all surprised to see Sango leave. He'd heard her quietly tiptoe out this morning. He had sensed her restlessness even though outwardly she seemed peaceful while she slept. While he was merely resting for the sake of the group, Inuyasha couldn't help noticing the disturbance as his keen senses were adept a picking up even a hint of danger.
However, for Sango to visit her village wasn't unusual and Inuyasha had learned to quietly deal with her absence if that were the case. At any rate, there hadn't been much happening and Inuyasha had been uncharacteristically glad for the break. There was no reason to begrudge his friend some time alone. Whatever was troubling her, Inuyasha knew that her visit would only do her good. Once they began looking for Naraku again, Sango wouldn't have any baggage slowing her down.
"Rin!" a squawking voice echoed into the wilderness. "Rin, where have you gone off to now?" he grumbled to himself. If he didn't find that child, Lord Sesshoumaru was going to have his reptilian hide.
The toad demon known as Jakken simply looked up at the two-headed dragon demon that had nestled onto the cool grass.
"Come, Ah-Uhn," he commanded, causing the two to stir with a sense of agitation. "Let us find the errant child before Lord Sesshoumaru returns."
Somewhere deep within the forest the gentle humming of a child carried on the quiet breeze that swished through the trees. Unbeknownst to the innocent child, she was beginning to gather unwelcome attentions as she picked flowers close to a small stream that ran through the forest.
Rin happily picked the delicate wildflowers that decorated the forest floor. She had begun to grow quite hungry and had asked Master Jakken if she may search for some food to quell her growling stomach. His caterwauling protest had come as no surprise to her as he insisted that she wait for Lord Sesshoumaru to return. So once his back was turned, Rin hadn't hesitated in skittering away into the forest.
To her surprise, she had found not only some berries to feast upon, but also a stream where she managed to catch a few small fish, which now lay close by to where she found the pretty wildflowers.
She hoped that Lord Sesshoumaru wouldn't be too angry with her for deceiving Master Jakken, but she just had to eat. Perhaps he would even be a little proud of her for she had managed on her own without any trouble as she had on numerous occasions. Perhaps this time he would acknowledge her efforts. A small desire, but she didn't want to press her luck.
No sooner had she begun to feel very proud of herself than darkness began to cloud overhead.
Rin timidly lifted her head in apprehension. Somehow she had the frightening feeling that it wasn't rain.
Her fears were confirmed as she looked up to see a strange black mist beginning to materialize before her. She absently tightened her grip on the tiny wildflowers, unable to look away from the mist that was beginning to take shape.
"Are you afraid, child?" a deeply rough voice questioned, laced with maniacal humor.
Rin unconsciously took a step back and numbly nodded her head as she attempted to will her feet to move faster. She opened her mouth and found that her voice refused to work. She wasn't able to cry out for Lord Sesshoumaru!
"As well you should be," the mist replied as it formed into a frightful looking monster. It was almost canine-like in its appearance with course black fur and red eyes that glowed with evil. Larges horns adorned its massive head and large fangs jutted out of its mouth.
"Small children such as you help to sustain me," the hideous creature growled with obvious delight.
Rin's hands rattled so that the petals from her freshly picked flowers were being shaken off as she had remembered the idle threats from elders in different villages.
'You best behave yourself or demons from the forest will eat your very soul,' they'd warned. However, Rin paid no heed to their stories. After all, she'd found Lord Sesshoumaru in the forest and he hadn't harmed her.
But now, she'd seen they'd been right and she was going to be eaten by this monster for disobeying Master Jakken.
Sango traveled high above the forest treetops as Kirara made her way to the Slayer's village. The nagging sense that she was needed had been a residual affect of her dream. In each voice, however indistinct, she did manage to hear the desperation and force in which she was called. Someone or something needed her.
Suddenly, Kirara emitted a loud roar and Sango felt the large cat tense and shake beneath her.
"What's the matter, Kirara?" she asked and quickly scanned the open sky and tops of the forest trees for a sign of trouble.
Another roar was Sango's answer as the cat demon dove closer to the forest beneath them. It was then that Sango felt a demonic aura that crashed upon her intuition like an ocean wave. What could possibly emit such an evil presence if not Naraku?
Before Sango could even think about suggesting that they investigate, a high piercing scream reached Sango's ears. The horrific sound was the unmistakable scream of a child.
"Let's go Kirara," Sango commanded as she reached behind her to grip the leather straps of her Hiraikotsu.
Rin had managed to make her little legs move as she had broken into a dead run in the direction from which she had came.
Laughter from the demon pursuing her echoed all around her and she was unable to guess where it was coming from. Suddenly the laughter changed to the howls of wolves. Rin's fear leaped to new heights as she was mentally brought back to the time she had been chased down and killed by a pack of wolves. She could practically smell their rank breaths, yet when she looked over her shoulder, Rin saw nothing.
A loud roar nearly brought Rin to her knees in fear, yet she felt herself being lifted into the air. She screamed and flailed against the tight grip.
"Shh, hush now child. You're safe," she heard a soothing voice say from behind her as she felt something soft and furry beneath her bare legs.
Rin turned suddenly to find a young woman had gathered her into a protective embrace as they begun to ascend through the trees. She attempted to shy away from the human woman at first, clutching harder to the furry demon, yet something in the woman's eyes reminded of someone. Someone she knew, but could not recall. Some she liked, but hadn't seen again
"You shall regret that human," Sango heard a voice growl.
Before she could react, Sango was knocked away by an unseen force and was plunging back to the ground.
"No!" Rin cried as she reached in vain towards her rescuer as she quickly disappeared through the branches.
Sango's body took immense abuse from the constant hard knocks of branches and cuts from twigs as she continued to descend towards the earth. However, Sango did not feel the dread thud that she knew would come once her body hit the hard forest floor. Instead the demonic force she sensed chasing the young girl was swirling around her in a black mist, keeping her suspended above the ground.
"A human woman," the demon mused. "This proves to be a most fortunate day for me. Once I'm through with you, I will find the young girl you were so arrogant as to steal away from me."
Sango strained with futile effort against the black mist as she felt her entire body being squeezed with a bone-crushing force she'd never known. Twice that seemed to be latched around her throat.
This was not Naraku. What manner of demon was this? Sango had never encountered such a strange force.
She attempted to reach for her poison powder that she held within her Slayer's suit, but the mist managed to restrict her movement as she felt her life force slowly begin to slip away.
Far above, Kirara carried Rin away from the danger, as the cat demon knew that would be her mistress' wish. However, Rin had other ideas.
"Please, take me down there," she begged of the feline. "We can't just leave her alone." Rin didn't want to leave her alone. The strange woman had saved her and Rin wished to make certain that her rescuer should also remain safe. There had been something in the woman's eyes that made her remember a time when she wasn't able to rescue someone in dire trouble.
Kirara roared in protest, but she felt the determination in the child's spirit and complied for she wished her mistress' safety as well .Without another moment's hesitation, Kirara dove back down into the forest. There, Rin found the young woman suspended in midair by the demon that had pursued her.
"No!" Rin cried, tears beginning to spill from her eyes and held out her hands towards the woman.
Sango heard the young girl and managed to turn her head. Her mind was crying out for the child to stay her position and begged Kirara with her eyes to take the child to safety.
Suddenly a large white light emitted between the two. Sango marveled at the strange light just before losing consciousness and heard the girl cry out once more.
To be continued...
Author's Note: Well, there it is. Feel free to constructively criticize. Since this is my first try, I went over it a million times and I'm still not convinced that there aren't a bunch of blunders.