-1Alone in an Alley, a Slayer is Born
Author's Note: This is a Buffyverse/Inuyasha crossover and it is a prequel to my fanfic novella in progress, Slayer of Nightmares. This story is about Kagome, who came home from the past to find she was a Slayer in the modern day ...
For Buffyverse fans who may not be familiar with the anime series Inuyasha, all you really need to know is that Inuyasha is a half-demon "hanyou" and Kagome is very much in love with him. The remaining bits important to this story can be gleaned from reading it; I've tried to make it accessible to Buffy fen who might not have seen Inuyasha.
(OTOH, knowledge of Buffy is necessary to understand this. I suspect it will be mystifying to Inuyasha fans who've never seen Buffy!)
Mama nearly dropped her cup of tea on the floor when the horrified cry rang through the shrine. Her daughter's voice was unexpected -- she'd been on the other side of the well for two weeks, and Mama hadn't been expecting her back any time soon. It was a school holiday; she figured they'd be gone for another month. Kagome, at seventeen, was damned independent -- Mama missed her, but hadn't been overly worried.
"Inuyasha, NO!" There was grief in Kagome's voice, and horror. Then, silence.
Mama ran out, down the steps, to the well house. From within the well, a quieter voice, sounding heartbroken, "... No."
"Mama." Her daughter was almost whimpering now. "Mama, he ... he ..."
Kagome's head appeared over the edge of the well. Her face was tear streaked and horror and grief were etched on her face. Her hands were skinned -- Mama thought she'd jumped and hit the bottom instead of going through time to the other side.
"Kagome?" Mama said, catching her daughter's arms. "What happened? What happened to Inuyasha?"
"We won." Kagome said, sounding numb. "We won."
"But what's wrong?"
"Inuyasha ... he wished for me to go home and live happily ... he said he wished for me to make as much of a difference in our time as I had in his. He wished me home and the Shikon jewel disappeared and then so did I ... And the well's sealed. I can't go back. Damn him. Damn him. Damn him. Mama, I'll never see him again. He ... he kissed me and he hugged me and then he sent me away. He told me ... he told me I needed to go home."
Oh. Mama hugged her daughter, feeling tears prick at her own eyes. "The well's closed forever?"
"It's dead. I can't feel any power in it. It's just a hole in the ground now." Kagome was shivering from emotion and grief. "If ... if he'd asked, I would have stayed."
"He was wise, Kagome," Mama said, feeling sorrow for both of them -- they'd been ill fated from the beginning, she supposed. An impossible dream. "This is your world. He's not a part of this time, this world -- you could not have stayed there, and he has no place here."
Bitter tears, from her daughter. Mama sighed, and held her close, unsure what else to do.
Kagome suddenly ripped free of her mother's grasp and kicked savagely at the well. To their mutual surprise, the wood around the well exploded in a shower of kindling and splinters. Kagome landed on her butt, hard.
"Uh." She said, stunned. "What did I just ... how did I ..."
It would be three more years before she found out the full ramifications of that well-intentioned wish by Inuyasha, though it wouldn't take her long to figure out she was stronger and faster than any normal girl now. It wouldn't be until she got in her first serious fight with a demon on this side of the well that she discovered she healed faster too -- almost as fast as Inuyasha did. It would be even longer before she learned of another battle with another demon in the far away city of Sunnydale that happened on the same day that she came home from the past for the last time -- a battle that had far reaching ramifications for girls all over the world, including Kagome.
I want her to make as much of a difference in her time as she has done in mine, he'd wished -- and the Shikon jewel had given her the means to do it.
A month later, a letter arrived.
"You know anyone in America?" Mama said curiously, handing Kagome a simple white envelope. It had her address on it, and an American stamp that was cancelled with a postmark that indicated the letter had come from Los Angeles.
"No, I don't." Kagome said, puzzled. She opened the envelope quickly. The letter was in English, but it was the photo that caught her eye first.
But it was Inuyasha as she'd never seen him before. Notably, he was wearing snug-fitting jeans and a bright red shirt. He looked fit and happy. He was smiling -- a big, broad grin that made her smile back in return. The clothes didn't look modern -- maybe 80's, judging by the wide collar of the shirt and the high-top sneakers he was wearing. Shoes, on Inuyasha, looked weird.
But it was him -- dog ears, amber eyes, clawed hands, and all. He looked just as he had a month before when she'd seen him last.
She nearly ripped the letter unfolding it. Terrible wild hope blossomed in her chest. She knew he was nearly immortal, if no accident befell him, but hadn't really dared hope that if he'd survived to the present. If he had survived, five hundred years would have passed. That was a terribly long amount of time for him to avoid accident and intentional attacks. She knew Inuyasha -- he wasn't one to avoid trouble, and trouble found him often as not, even when he wasn't looking for it. The odds of him surviving to present day were very long.
However, the letter wasn't from him, to her acute disappointment. It wasn't his handwriting -- Inuyasha could write, but his handwriting was a bit on the sloppy side. It wasn't even close to his. In neat, precise script, the letter simply said,
"If you are reading this, Inuyasha needs you. Please find him in Los Angeles, California, where he has lived for nearly the last century."
It wasn't signed and the letter wasn't specific as to where in Los Angeles she might find him.
"Mama ..." Kagome breathed out, "He's still alive!"
Mama took the letter and the photograph from her and frowned at them. "Five hundred years ..." she murmured.
"I have to go! I have to go find him!" She stood up from the couch, as if to run out the door right that instant, catch a plane, and go.
Her mother was silent. "Los Angeles is a long way away, Kagome."
"Mama, I have to." Kagome declared.
"I know, dear, but this isn't like traveling through the well," Mama said, slowly. "There are practical considerations."
"I've got some money saved up -- I think enough for an airline ticket."
Mama nodded. "And you don't speak the language very well. Your grades in English were pretty bad last semester, weren't they? And where will you stay? Do you know anything about how to get around Los Angeles? And when you get there, how are you going to search for him? And you'll be all alone -- nobody to protect you."
She paused, and added quietly, "And how do you know the letter's even for real?"
"Mama, I have to go." Kagome insisted.
"I know you do. But you've got to do this right, Kagome-chan. You can't just go running off to America to look for him. It doesn't work that way. You're going to need a visa, too, and more money than what you've saved up." Mama frowned. "I won't stop you from going, but you need to answer all those questions -- and learn more English first."
"It's been five centuries. Surely he can wait a little while longer." Mama said. "I know that boy, Kagome -- he can take care of himself. And he wouldn't want you to get into trouble because you hurried into this unprepared."
Kagome's mother was firm, and unrelenting, very much to Kagome's dismay. Unfortunately, she was also right about both the expense and the requirement for a visa. It was a year before she had satisfied her mother's requirements plus both the legal and financial needs. It was an almost unbearably long time before she boarded an airplane for the flight from Japan to LAX.
It was funny -- that had turned out to be the easiest way to get a visa. She'd gotten accepted to a small US college, for their history program. She would be a student, officially -- at least until she found Inuyasha. Once she found him, she'd decide what her next move would be. She was arriving just in time for the summer semester, eager to start as soon as possible on the search for him.
Her unexpected powers hadn't faded. She supposed that they were a parting gift from the Shikon jewel -- Inuyasha's wish that she do as much good in her world as she had in his time might have been coupled with a strong concern for her safety. Hence, Super Kagome. It was as good of an explanation as any.
Which is how I can afford the college, she thought, with some amusement. Athletic scholarships. Being able to run a four minute mile and winning a few marathons really did impress them. Very nearly qualifying for the 2004 Olympics in archery got me international attention. At least paying for college isn't an issue!
She sighed, watching out the window as the airplane taxied up to a jetway. Airport, she though in English, forcing herself to remember the words. Airplane. It was dark -- the pilot had announced it was ten PM earlier -- and she thought of associated English vocabulary, anxiety making her practice the words in herhead, It is night. Good evening. Ten o'clock.
The frustrating part was that she had developed a pretty big vocabulary, but putting the words together into coherent sentences was a challenge.
What were the words she'd need to get to her hotel room? She rehearsed them in her head. Please, Mr. Taxi driver, can you take me to the San Andreas University? Or was it, Taking me to the San Andreas University? Gah. English was a painful language to learn. Please, Mr. Taxi Driver, have you seen a guy with dog ears and silver hair? He was here a year ago according to a mysterious letter I received ...
An hour later she pushed a very large cart of bags towards the curb. Her luggage included several bags of clothing, plus one hard-sided case containing a bow and her arrows. At the curb, there were two taxis waiting. One taxi driver was a rather innocuous looking man. The other was ... well, nothing overtly unusual about him, she supposed, though she was having a rather embarrassingly hard time getting used to seeing all the not-Japanese faces. But something felt wrong about him/.
I'm not prejudiced. I'm not! It's not because he's anglo! She told herself, defiantly. But ... while there were a few Asian faces in sight, most of the people she saw were other. It was unusual and unsettling; she'd never before been in a place where she was the minority. The foreign tempo and rhythms of English and Spanish swirled around her as she struggled towards the taxis and she felt incredibly out of place. And guilty, for feeling so. If her time with Inuyasha had taught her anything it was never to judge people on their appearances ...
"Hey!" A blond woman bolted ahead of her, shouting something about needing to get to a meeting now. She dove into the back of the taxi belonging to the nice-looking taxi driver and it drove away.
That left Scary Taxi Driver for Kagome.
She resolutely told herself it was her nerves that made him seem like a demon, and nothing more. She rehearsed what to say as she approached, going over the foreign words in her head. Straight 'A's for a year in English class hadn't begun to prepare her for the reality of immersing herself in a world where half the population spoke the language. (And the other half spoke Spanish, something she didn't speak at all.)
I can do this, she told herself, very firmly. "Sir, excuse me, San Andreas University, could you take me ...?" She said, or at least, that was what she tried to say. Even to her own ears, she was barely understandable.
And I just got an 'F' on that English test, Kagome thought, frustrated. The driver was looking at her completely baffled. He said, "Huh?"
"San. Andreas. University?" She repeated, hopefully, trying very hard to be understandable.
"What?" He frowned at her. She wondered if he was hard of hearing; she hadn't mangled the name that badly. Just her luck.
She rummaged in her purse, found the computer printout of her classes, and thrust it at him. It had an address on it. He glanced at it, grunted something, and started loading her bags.
Whew. See, I can do this!
Minutes later, her bags loaded, the taxi pulled away from the curb. She slumped back into the seat and fought an urge to have a major panic attack or a fit of giggles. Or both. She was almost there -- to the university, anyway. Finding Inuyasha in this foreign city of millions seemed more and more an impossible task.
"You a college student, then?" The driver asked.
"Yes." That seemed like a safe answer that she couldn't possibly get wrong. After a moment's thought about how blunt that sounded, she added, "Sir."
"I am a history major." She told herself to consider this English practice.
"History, huh." The man said, and fell silent for a moment. "Where ya from, sweetie?"
"I am from Japan." Easy answer. 'I am from' plus a location was something every language class taught first off -- she'd learned that answer years ago.
"Ah. Like where Godzilla's from." He pulled out from the curb. She blinked and nearly yelped a warning before remembering that he was supposed to be driving the wrong way down the street. Now that's something that I'll never get used to! They drove on the other side of the road in America ... "Always liked that guy. Radioactive dinosaur. Too cool."
Godzilla's nothing, mister. You should meet Naraku.
"How come you came to America for college?" He asked. "Don't they have good colleges in Japan?"
She fought down a defense of her home country. His words had been vaguely insulting. Instead, she simply said, "I have a friend here."
"Ah. Boyfriend, then? You're a pretty little thing." He glanced over his shoulder at her. The look made her want to crawl under the taxi's back seat. She blushed ferociously. It was a look that was coldly appraising in a way that Miroku's lechery had never been -- Miroku liked girls, sure, perhaps too much, but he also had respected her as a friend. She'd never been simply an object in his eyes. The taxi driver's look had been very different. Suddenly, she just wanted this ride over. And he hadn't even done anything wrong, exactly.
Miroku, she thought, mournfully, remembering her friends. And Sango.
She would likely never see them again, unless some twist of fate sent her back to the past. They'd died centuries ago, and if fortune had favored them, it had been of old age. Inuyasha, at least, was still alive -- or had been. Fierce and familiar guilt stabbed at her that it had taken this long to get here. Had he been in major trouble? If he was alive, why hadn't he simply picked up a phone and called her? Hey, Kagome, long time since I've talked to you ...
She sighed, contemplating the centuries that had passed. Five centuries. That was an unbelievably long amount of time. His reason for not calling her could simply be that she wasn't important to him anymore. He undoubtedly had his own life here.
No. I can't believe that. We never discussed it, but I know he'd at least let me know he was alive and well. I meant that much to him, at least. If he's alive and he hasn't contacted me by now, he's likely involved in trouble that he doesn't want me mixed up in.
The other person who might still be around was Shippou -- as a full demon, he would have a very, very long life. She wondered what he looked like, for the thousandth time, as a grown up.Had he and Inuyasha kept in touch over the centuries? What was he like now? Had he kept his good nature and his affection for humans? Or had he died somewhere along the line? She didn't know.
The taxi bumped over a pothole, yanking her thoughts back to the present. She watched out the window at the dark city. Signs in a dozen languages rolled past -- she saw everything from familiar kanji advertising a restaurant to what she thought was Cyrillic, for what looked like a grocery store. Los Angeles was an ethnically diverse city, she'd read -- seeing all the different languages on the signs drove that home as much as the different faces did.
The taxi driver turned up a very dark street. No, it was an alley. Huh?
"Where do you go?" She asked, nervously.
"Shortcut," he said -- a lie, because the cab stopped a second later, in a pool of blackness between two large buildings.
Shit, she thought. That English word she'd learned and found usefully descriptive for all sorts of things, including this. He's going to try to rob me or worse. I knew he was a creep.
When the driver turned around and she saw amber eyes and fangs and a face out of her nightmares, she nearly bit her tongue. A demon! Here!
She hit the demon in the face with everything her newfound super-strength could offer. Blood sprayed from his shattered nose. Heart racing, she launched out of the car. He came after her, snarling, fangs bared. Demon. A demon. There's a demon here.
She turned her flight into an attack, spinning and kicking, by pure instinct. The demon ducked, and lunged at her. She got a whiff of very bad breath, and smelled equally bad body odor. Instinctively, she brought her knee up with crushing force between his legs. The demon made a strangled sound, not even a scream, and doubled over, then collapsed to the ground.
She caught his arm, twisted it hard behind his back, and demanded, after a moment's thought about the words to use, "What are you?"
"Don't you know, Slayer?"He said, after several moments of groaning non-response.
She yanked his arm higher. "Talk to me."
"Vampire! I'm a vampire!"
A vampire? "Like Anne Rice?" She nearly let go of him. He tensed, clearly thinking of making a break for it, and she planted her knee in the small of his back, holding him down.
"Like a demon," he snapped. "That damned writer has some really weird ideas."
Demon. "There are demons in this time?" Besides Inuyasha, who doesn't count.
"Fuck yeah." He sounded incredulous that she even needed to ask.
"Vampires are they demons?" When he didn't answer her, she tightened her grip on his hand warningly. She knew she was strong enough to crush the bones in his hand if she wanted. "Tell me about vampires."
"You don't know anything, do you?"
"I know kill demons," she said, sounding much tougher than she actually felt. She would have given a great deal to have Inuyasha's snarling presence as reinforcement. It was a lot harder to be intimidating when you were an eighteen year old human girl -- and a short one, by the standards of this country. Inuyasha could look pull off scary-as-shit with no more effort than a dirty look.
"Okay! I'll talk! Dunno what game you're playing, Slayer ..." He squirmed under her, and she lessened the angle that she had his arm twisted up to. "Vampires are demons that possess dead human bodies ..."
He gave her a clear, concise explanation of vampires. She thought she understood most of it -- and it was mostly pretty standard and basic Hollywood fare. She noted he left out the ways to kill vampires, but she imagined dismembering would likely work (again, she missed Inuyasha and his claws ...), and probably the traditional stake to the heart. Fire. Maybe sunlight, too.
She sat back on her heels. "Get up."
"You're not going to kill me?" He sounded incredulous.
"You have human's memories and a little of his personality. Because you're half human, right?" She rose. "My best friend's half human and half inu-youkai. I know things are never simple like they look. If you're still partly human, killing you would be wrong."
"You really are a newbie." The vampire scrambled to his feet. He eyed her for a moment, and she expected him to bolt. Instead, he stepped closer to her and offered her his hand -- she thought to shake.
She extended her own fingers. Huh. Maybe my instincts were wrong and he'll be a friend.
The demon's fingers closed around hers -- and then, suddenly, he yanked her off balance and towards him. She saw fangs, and heard a dangerous snarl, and realized it had been a trick. With an oath, she drove her fist into his gut. Teeth grazed her neck as he tumbled away. He'd been going for her throat.
There was a pallet leaning against a wall -- in a little patch of moonlight, she could see it. She dove for it, smashed a board off it, and when the vampire charged her again, she efficiently caught him in the chest with it. She heard a surprised whoof of exhaled breath from the creature, and then a puff as he burst into dust.
Oh. Well, that saves getting rid of the body, I guess.
Kagome stood, dark humor slowly being replaced by panic. She was all alone, in a foreign city, in what appeared to be a rather bad neighborhood. No idea where to find help, it was very late -- her watch, which she'd set at the airport, said past midnight -- and she hadn't even had a chance to get a cel phone that would work here. She thought frantically, trying to remember if she'd seen a pay phone in the area. And even if there was, what number was she supposed to call to get the police? And what was she going to tell them? And hell, she didn't even have any change -- she'd gotten some twenty dollar bills out of an ATM, but she had no American coins!
Don't panic, she told herself, firmly. Think.
"Ohhhhh, I want to cry!" She said, aloud. If there was any justice in the world, Inuyasha would appear now, and sweep her off to safety. Actually, he should have appeared about five minutes earlier. But I handled that okay myself. Wonder what he'd think to have seen me kick ass like that!
It was then that the ground shook a bit. Earthquake? Kagome thought. She knew earthquakes. 4.0, maybe. Not a big one.
A rumble, noise and not moving earth, rolled across the land. Then she heard the clash of steel to steel and angry cries. It sounded exactly like a battle -- that sound she knew. And it was coming her way. With a startled oath, she dove into the front seat of the cab and yanked the lever that popped the trunk. Bow. I need my bow. I need a weapon. Now! Now!
Frantically, she yanked the plastic-sided case out that held her competition bow and a couple dozen arrows. She strung it with furious haste, and knocked an arrow just as the first youkai appeared. Somehow, even after the vampiric evidence of demons in the modern world, seeing a dragon-youkai aloft in the sky over modern-day LA was still a shock to her system. The beast was enormous, a city block long at least. It drifted by low overhead and she realized that it had what appeared to be a human man, blond haired, wearing dark clothing, in its jaws.
She fired a purifying arrow at the dragon. It shrieked when the arrow hit, and dropped the man (who she figured was probably already dead) and veered sharply away. Steaming, smoking blood rained down, burning when it touched her bare skin. She wiped it away with an oath, then watched as the dragon's silhouette against the dark sky spiraled out of sight behind a building. There was a metallic crunch and two car alarms started to whoop.
Oops, she thought. Somebody's going to have an interesting story for their insurance adjustor.
But then she saw shapes swirling towards her up the darkened alley. Youkai, many of them. She ran, arrows clutched in her hand, knowing there were too many to shoot. The alley dead-ended at a block wall, but security lights on a nearby building at least gave her light. She was cornered ... "Inuyasha!" She screamed, "INUYASHA!"
It was instinct and blind hope that made her scream his name, but it did not summon him. "Inuyasha! HELP!" She cried once more before they reached her, and then she was too busy to even scream. The two dozen arrows she had killed two dozen demons, but behind them a thousand more pressed. Instinct made her kick and punch with lethal effect; it was the first time she used her newfound strength and speed in an actual fight.
Pure desperation made her snag up a sword that a dead demon had dropped -- flashes of memories that weren't hers surfaced, and suddenly she knew how to use it. And she fought until the sword broke, and then she claimed another. And she fought on, and on, until her legs were shaking and her breath whistled hot in her lungs. The carcasses of dead youkai piled up until she had to struggle for footing atop them. And still she fought.
A man appeared out of the chaos. "Slayer!" He said, ducking her instinctive blow when he got too close. "I'm on your side!"
He was dark haired and broad shouldered. She couldn't see him clearly because of the way the shadows fell, but the lines of his body were human -- and she wasn't about to question his race before accepting his help in a situation like this! They fought back to back for what felt like hours; no words were necessary, simply shared desperation. And then he went down, slipping under the feet of the monsters that sought to kill them. When he reappeared, an dozen feet away, bleeding more now, she saw he had amber eyes now, and a ridged face ... she'd been fighting with a vampire at her back and hadn't even realized it in the dim light.
She lost sight of him in the press of the battle. And on she fought, until her muscles burned with agony and it didn't seem as if she could block another stroke. But something pushed to never quit, something larger than herself. She would fight until she died or won; she would not succumb to mere exhaustion.
And then it was dawn and there were no more monsters left moving.
She stood shivering in the morning chill, soaked through with blood -- none of it hers, all of it theirs. The scents of death and demons filled her nose and she vomited until she dry heaved and heaved until her ribs hurt and her vision went black. She'd killed demons ... scores, perhaps hundreds of demons ... most of them by herself, pinned against a wall. The bodies were piled multiple layers deep in the alley -- a horrific toll of monstrous creatures, some humanoid, some not, and all had meant to kill her. And she didn't even know why.
There was no sign of the vampire who'd fought at her side for a time -- it would be years before she learned his name and his fate. She would learn years later that the demons had not been after her; they had been after the dark-haired vampire and his friends. But until the day she died, she would swear that it had not been coincidence that had led her to that battle that day but rather destiny. Before she even knew what she was, she knew what she could do -- and she learned something that night that would forever after change her life.
Alone, without the help of any of her friends, she had won. She had survived an incredible battle without being saved by anyone else.
If she could survive a fight like this -- all on her own -- she could do anything, she thought. Suddenly, the fear of attending a college where she barely spoke the language seemed ridiculous, as did her nervousness over simply moving to a new city. Minor problems that could be overcome with time and work.
And finding Inuyasha ... finding Inuyasha would happen too. She knew it. He was out there, and she could do anything now. Finding him seemed doable.
(1)"Dead body cleanup" is the reason why vampires poof to dust on Buffy. It was apparently cheaper to pay for the special effect than it was to deal with the mess of faux dead vampires ...
Also, if it's not completely obvious, yes, this was set right after the series finale of Angel.