Could Be Raining
Just A Starving Writer
Standard Disclaimer Applies
Author's Plea: Written for Anonymous Fangirl for guessing the profile quote on my other ff account, and as the top fic in Pick a Fic! from my eljay. Editing help by Riza. It's been awhile, so please accept my apologies if I'm rusty. And you simply are not getting a sequel out of this one. Sorry.
Enjoy if you can.
There are some people who believe that every bit of bad luck they experience is actually part of a global conspiracy against them. Others are under the assumption they are cursed and therefore fated to forever experience the unfortunate.
Higurashi Kagome was not so self-centered to believe that her bad luck was anything more than that: bad luck.
Perhaps she should have.
Thus was it that when she made a completely innocuous and innocent statement during a particularly foul argument with a particularly foul hanyou after an encounter with a particularly amorous wolf that she thought nothing of it.
"It could be worse! I could be having a passionate affair with your brother!"
The hanyou's response was a slew of unintelligible sputtering until he finally erupted with a particularly vicious word that earned him a meeting with the hard ground. The group giggled, left him behind, and fifteen minutes later had forgotten the entire incident.
In fifteen days, they would remember it again.
It was quite possibly the oddest sight he'd ever seen, and that was including the one time he had been foolish enough to stumble across Jaken waist deep in mud attempting to chase after a monkey youkai that had managed to steal his clothing.
The miko, if she could even be called such while stomping the life out of a shrub with only one booted foot, was covered in the most foul smelling substance he'd ever had the disgrace to come across. As he approached curiously, because really curiosity was oftentimes the only reason anyone could attribute him doing anything, he found her to be muttering an unintelligible mess of syllables strung with the recurring words "fate", "cursed", and "Naraku".
Her muttering was perhaps the only part of her episode that he could understand. What the shrub had done to offend her, what the substance was that was covering her and gradually killing his sense of smell, and why she wasn't near his half-brother were different matters altogether.
"Miko," he stated with quiet authority. Too quiet, as she failed to stop her assault on the hapless plant.
"Miko," he said with a bit more irritation, hoping she'd get the point before it actually started to annoy him. Still, she attacked the scenery.
"Miko, you will cease your ludicrous behavior, now."
Somehow, even though his voice was even quieter than the first time he spoke, he had managed to get the right level of menace into the tone for her to finally take notice. She stopped her stomping, slowly lifted her head, and met the harsh eyes of her visitor.
She seemed calmer now, not shaking in fear as he might prefer, but certainly no longer looking for all the world like a crazy woman. However, now that she was acknowledging his existence, he remembered he didn't want to be involved in her problems. The fact that she rightfully acknowledged him was enough, and the smell of the nauseous goop covering her was simply too offensive to remain in her presence.
And so, with a slight sniff that was just snooty enough to surely irritate her, he turned on his heel and began to walk off.
He assumed she would watch him go with that dumbstruck look on her face. He assumed she would gradually realize, once he was long gone, that she was acting foolishly and return to the relative safety of his half-brother.
He assumed wrong.
He ignored her. She couldn't possibly be so stupid.
Maybe she could be so stupid. And she still wasn't gracing his name with the honorific. Why did she always feel the need to be so familiar with him?
"Sesshoumaru, please! Can you help me find Inuyasha?"
It was unsurprising that she was lost. It was surprising that she would ask for his assistance when she knew of his reputation.
That pleading tone… now he knew where Rin had picked it up. It was almost enough to kill the woman for her terrible influence. Next thing he knew, his ward would be dressing inappropriately and clinging to a male she had no claim over.
"Please? You don't understand… If I don't get home, I'll probably die out here."
Well, that was… honest. And not at all positive. He was more accustomed to the woman shouting death threats at him. It certainly set off his instincts that something was indefinably wrong. He didn't like indefinable things, especially when they were wrong.
He stopped and waited for her to catch up, thinking it would be enough of an invitation for her. After several moments of silence, he realized it wasn't, and he'd actually have to speak to the girl.
That was enough to spur her into leaving her leafy victim behind and fall into step behind him. Somehow that pleased him.
The smell did not. The first thing he'd look for would be a water source. There was no sense killing his senses for a mere human woman.
She was unnaturally silent, especially considering who she was. He more than expected her to burst any time now with the effort of keeping her thoughts to herself. However, each time he chanced a sly look at her, she was in an uncharacteristically down mood, even after her bath.
It was bothersome, even to a being such as him.
"You separated from the hanyou," he stated slowly, making the statement a question without actually asking a question.
"Well, I certainly didn't want to," she responded tightly. "I can't exactly help it that I'm cursed."
"You allowed yourself to be cursed."
"Hey, don't make this seem like it's my fault! I didn't do anything! I didn't even realize I was cursed until… well, never mind. Naraku cursed me, and I'm stuck with it."
"Naraku is dead, miko. There is no curse, only your own foolishness."
"No, Naraku used his dying breath to curse me for my optimism. A bit of humor from beyond the grave, I suppose. Still, he did it, it miraculously stuck, and now I have to be negative or face the consequences."
He stopped walking, partially because he didn't believe and partially because her statement was interesting.
"What more is there to explain? Do you want a demonstration?"
He nodded succinctly, barely managing to even move his head, but she saw it regardless and sighed in frustration.
"Fine. It could be worse. There could be a youkai about to attack."
She held up her open palm and slowly lowered her fingers in a silent countdown. When her fist was closed, a boar youkai leaped out of the forest surrounding them, immediately intent upon their messy demise.
Two short flicks of his fingers later, the youkai was no longer a threat.
"Coincidence," he stated with certainty.
"Coincidence? I'll show you coincidence! It could be worse! It could be raining!"
He was able to take five steps before the sky, previously only partly cloudy, opened wide and spilled cold rain unto them. He wanted to frown. Instead, he simply looked at her with annoyance. The fact that she looked utterly defeated and soggy made his annoyance a bit pointless.
"You are cursed," he acknowledged.
"I told you so! Why else do you think I would be here instead of basking in the glow of Naraku's death with Inuyasha and my friends?"
"I said something along the lines that at least we were all together. It went downhill from there. But the worst part, the absolute worst part, is that I don't think I'm remembering everything I might have said before I realized I was cursed. I'm just waiting for something to spring up on me!"
"Calm yourself, miko."
"I have no reason to be calm right now! For all I know, you could be about to kill me!"
He approached her with steady steps, fairly intent upon doing something fairly close to killing her if only to shut her up. Her voice grated on his nerves in a way that Jaken's mumbling and Rin's poor singing never did.
He didn't manage to kill her, which was something of a shock for both of them. Instead, the ground below them gave out with such perfect timing that both miko and youkai lord were thrown head first into the cavern below.
He knew the minute the miko became conscious, but it did nothing to stop his actions. After all, what did it matter if she was awake when her insignificant human eyes could see so little in the darkness of the collapsed cavern. She might as well be completely incapacitated.
That pleading tone again. Perhaps it was a trait acquired by all women, though he couldn't remember his own mother ever using it. Of course, his mother was particularly strange for a female and far above begging. Maybe it was a trait restricted to human females…
"Sesshoumaru? Is that you?"
She was staggering in the darkness behind him, trying and failing to pinpoint him by the noise he was making. If he was lucky, she'd walk straight into his poison and rid him of the annoyance of listening to her. However, being as she had a knack for escaping his poison, probably not.
He would have been sent to the ground from the force of her fall had he not been so stalwart a youkai and stuck his feet firmly. Still, she was pressed up against him, her hands gripping his arm and armor to regain her own troublesome feet. She probably didn't even realize yet that she was clinging to him. He didn't care.
"Miko, you will release this Sesshoumaru."
She let go of him, but as she had not gained stability, she fell against him once more almost as quickly.
The second time she let go, she seemed more balanced and was able to keep from groping him further. In a strange way, the thought disappointed him. He quickly pushed that unwelcome feeling aside. Instead, he chose to enlighten her as to the severity of their situation so as to keep her shocked and quiet. Then, maybe, he could work steadily without interruption and be rid of her quicker.
"The cavern collapsed in such a matter as to trap this Sesshoumaru inside. The passageways are all blocked as well."
"Are you trying to dig us out?"
"Poison is more effective than such crudeness."
She sniffed in derision. The sound could have been endearing were he not himself. Still, it worked to bring a slight smirk to his lips that otherwise might not have been there.
"Back to the far wall or you will die."
Her shuffling feet indicated her acquiescence as well as her disapproval. He wondered if this was something he could be smug about, but then realized that he should be well used to inferiors obeying him.
Somehow he still couldn't help but let the slight smirk grow into an actual facial expression.
It was nighttime when he finally managed to break through the rubble, which wasn't terribly surprising given that it was sunset when they had become trapped. Still, it irked him to realize he had spent this much time with the woman. And now, undoubtedly, she would need to sleep, like she hadn't done while stuck in the cavern because that would have been a smart thing to do.
Perhaps he was a bit bitter, but really, her pungent aroma had mixed with the earthly smell of the rock and dirt surrounding them and had filled the cavern to the brim and made him pay attention in a way that he really found absurd. The woman was a useless ningen and not worthy of such attention. She was barely worthy of being noticed at all, and wouldn't have been had she not been such a bother.
Still… crisp night air was something he'd been longing for. He'd always been more for the freedom of open land, and being trapped in the cavern had annoyed him in more ways than one.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…"
At least the miko was grateful. Otherwise, he might have pushed her back into the cavern.
"The stars are so pretty! I missed them so much…"
One would think she'd been trapped for days instead of an hour or two.
"I really hate this… I just can't be so negative all the time."
And why not?
"You know, the entire time we were in that cavern, I thought that it could be wors—"
He should have known better than to think she had any amount of self preservation. After all, she trusted his half-brother to protect her.
"No, no, NO! I didn't mean it! I swear!"
Would the woman ever be silent? Was she even capable of silence?
"You might want to get your sword out," she whispered pitifully. He gladly ignored the fact that his hand obeyed her.
It was good that it did.
The night had already come and gone and morning was settling upon the land before he was finally able to put his sword back into its rightful place. Strewn about were piles of bodies from low level youkai that had been summoned by the woman's cursed words. He still didn't know what exactly she was going to say, but after an evening of slaughtering massive amounts of youkai, he didn't really care to ask.
He only hoped she wouldn't be so careless again. Perhaps the multicolored slime that was covering her would be enough dissuasion, but considering her condition when he first came across her during her argument with the shrubbery, he doubted it.
Maybe if he cut out her tongue? But then she'd probably moan quite a bit.
And why did that thought make his ears tingle?
If he didn't know better… no, best not to think of it. Thinking of it would only acknowledge it and acknowledging insignificant things only made them feel important. He'd already learned that lesson from his dealings with his half-brother.
"Ooo…" The woman really needed to stop making that sound, even if it was tinged with bitter anger. Especially if it was tinged with bitter anger.
"This just isn't fair! I was somewhat clean for a bit! Why can't I stay relatively not dirty for longer than five seconds?"
Actually, that wasn't a bad question, though it wasn't one that seemed to trouble too many of the ningens he'd come across.
"I know I've been dependent upon your kindness for too long now," –which was one way of saying she'd annoyed him for long enough – "but can you please take me or show me the way to a lake or something again to wash off? I promise, I won't say anything positive!"
He wondered how long she could keep her word.
Inuyasha was furious. After all, everything had been fine and dandy until two weeks ago. Then, once they had defeated Naraku and rightfully deserved a break, shit just had to start happening, and Kagome just had to be involved. And, of course, it had to be all Naraku's fault.
The fact that the evil bastard was dead didn't make his fury any less. If anything, the inability to kill the hanyou again made him even angrier.
Then, of course, he was pissed because it had taken them so very damn long to figure out that Kagome was cursed at all, instead of all their misfortune simply being coincidence. The nature of the curse asserted itself when she made a cheerful comment during one of their sudden battles against yet another power hungry youkai.
"At least there aren't two of them!"
The moment of inspiration came the moment the second youkai, identical to the first, had burst upon the scene. Once they had been rightly dispatched, Kagome was ganged up on by the weary shard hunters, and the theory put to the test. There were limits to the curse, of course, but even a simple "it could be cold ramen" was accepted by the nuisance.
He had learned that particular lesson the hard way. Repeatedly.
And just to make it even more interesting, the girl just had to keep being so damn positive and say the last thing anyone needed.
"Well, it could be worse. At least we're all together!"
He knew what she'd meant, but it didn't make him any less pissed. She'd known as well as any of them the nature of the curse and should have been more careful. Leave it to Kagome to get cursed for her eternal optimism and still refuse to tone it down.
Maybe if he brought Kikyou into the group? Her incarnate's presence always put Kagome in a bad mood so maybe she'd stop being so silly.
Or maybe she'd go and be brave and accidentally utter something that got them all killed.
Being separated was bad enough. He'd managed to meet up with the monk and runt, but there was still no sign of Sango or Kagome. He was starting to get worried, especially since Miroku and the brat had started conversing on what else Kagome might have said that might provoke the curse.
"She said it might be raining, but it's already done that several times…" the monk said thoughtfully. "And she's far too innocent to say anything we might actually profit on…"
The painful lump he received for that comment was rightfully deserved in the hanyou's opinion. The brat's wide-eyed expression was not.
"Whatcha lookin' so scared for?"
"Remember when Kouga came by a few weeks ago?" the fox said timidly. "When you got sat for yelling at Kagome?"
"What did Kagome say about your brother?"
The moment the thought clicked was designated by the angry roar of a hanyou who just couldn't believe his bad luck – and terribly wanted to prevent the bad luck of his friend.
'It could be worse! I could be having a passionate affair with your brother!'
Upon hearing his half-brother's distinctive yell, two thoughts crossed Sesshoumaru's mind: no one seemed capable shutting up lately, and the volume of the yell indicated the brat was closer than he had previously estimated.
His estimate was only off because the woman's smell was interfering.
And that was a bad thing.
The slight discomfort he felt at his thoughts he pushed onto the fact that everyone was gifted in the art of annoying him. After all, there was simply no believing that he wanted more time with the miko.
No matter how good she smelled after bathing in the mineral laden waters of a conveniently placed hot spring.
He had half a mind to suspect that something was interfering with his thought processes; he certainly had never reacted in such a matter to the miko before, though that could be attributed to the lack of any significant time spent with her. Still, he wasn't a youkai to care much about anything not directly affecting him so the fact that he had any emotive response beyond annoyance for her was something suspicious.
Could it be her unusual curse? Could she really have been stupid enough to say something that would draw him into her misery?
But then what could explain the fact that he was actually letting her walk beside him instead of behind him? She certainly wasn't his equal or anything.
Perhaps he just wanted to be able to shut her up if she tried to inflict herself upon him again… It was the only reason that made any sense, at least.
And the only reason why his hand was itching to touch her.
Yes, there was certainly something going on that he was unaware of. He didn't like things he was unaware of.
Even if it took actually listening to the miko, he would find out what it was.
Inuyasha had good news and bad news. Overall, as usual, the bad news outweighed the good.
On the good side, they'd managed to find Sango and fill her in on the situation. With Kirara's help, they would be able to split up and cover more ground in the search for Kagome.
On the bad side, they still hadn't managed to find Kagome. And they'd gotten a whiff of Sesshoumaru's scent in the area. And Sesshoumaru's scent had since disappeared, leading the hanyou to suspect that he was somehow blocking it.
It could all be coincidence. Sesshoumaru could just happen to be around, just happen to decide he didn't particularly feel like dealing with his beloved half-brother.
Or Sesshoumaru could have already found Kagome, hidden his scent to prevent his beloved half-brother from tracking them, and started having that 'passionate affair' with his friend.
Assuredly, it did seem a bit… strange to be thinking of Sesshoumaru in those terms, and Miroku kept reassuring him that there was absolutely no way the curse could manage to make this particular optimistic statement work. After all, it was Sesshoumaru.
Still… the fact that Sesshoumaru had not only refrained from killing Kagome but also actually spoken to her on at least one occasion… well, it certainly made this missing scent business terrifying.
He picked up his speed, hoping to find her before anything untoward could happen. Maybe luck would be with them this time.
The woman was being uncooperative.
"I don't know what you are talking about!"
"Miko, you will tell this Sesshoumaru every positive statement you have made upon receiving the curse."
"But it's been two weeks! Over two weeks now! How am I supposed to remember everything!"
"You will remember anything you said regarding this Sesshoumaru or you will meet your death."
"I haven't said anything about you, I promise! I-- wait. Maybe… No…"
"Well, I might have said one thing," she practically whimpered. It did not unnerve at all.
"What did you say."
"I might have said that at least I wasn't having a passionate affair with you!"
He stared at her for several long seconds before blinking.
"And why would you insult this Sesshoumaru in such a fashion."
"I didn't mean it like that!" she stated angrily, eyes flashing in defiance. "It was just that Inuyasha was so angry about Kouga-kun's visit. I was trying to make him feel better is all. Excuse me for trying to make regular groping by a wolf youkai a lesser evil."
He blinked again and still found himself feeling insulted.
"You find the affections of this Sesshoumaru less desirable than the perversions of a worthless wolf."
"Well, when you put it like that--"
"You cannot think to insult this Sesshoumaru without first experiencing my affections."
It was too late. He could fight the curse no longer, especially not when her eyes spun with such lightness from the sheer lunacy of their conversation. Without letting her speak another syllable, he pulled her forward and thoroughly silenced her.
For the moment, he completely ignored that he was engaging in relations with a ningen. Instead, he congratulated himself on finally finding foolproof means of shutting her up.
There weren't many instances in which Inuyasha felt like crying. Usually it took a great deal of pain, torture, and Kikyou.
He wanted to cry now.
Kagome, damn stupid Kagome, there in his cursed half-brother's arm, appearing to be thoroughly enjoying herself. They didn't even seem to notice the arrival of the shard hunters. Which was strange, being that Sesshoumaru never let his guard down.
If the scene before him hadn't made him sick, the thought that Sesshoumaru was too busy enjoying himself to be a complete bastard certainly did.
They backed away quietly, letting the miko deal with the consequences of her cursed words. They could only hope the affair would be short lived, though with Sesshoumaru there was no telling.
No one was willing to speak, not even when they set up camp a good yet smellable distance from their friend. Inuyasha was just waiting for the monk to say something that would allow him to finally get this anger out of his system, but it was the runt that finally broke the tense silence.
"It could be worse. It could be Kouga."
They all groaned.
And that's it. No more from me, I swear!