Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.
Everyone has to experience something that will change them forever. Whether the experience is big or small, it still affects you. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. It's the harsh way of life but we seem to make it through.
A lot of these times, we don't want to change and want everything to just stay the same. Others prefer it. See, life tends to keep everything balanced.
There is the good and then there's the bad. There is the pretty and there is the ugly. There is the happy and there is the sad. There are the loyal and there are the traitors. Most of the time, you're either one or the other.
But then again, there is always the exception.
The exception is me, Kagome Higurashi. When I have to put myself into either category –loyal or a traitor-, I seem to be a bit of both.
How? Well, I guess you're just going to have to see.
And it all started with one big argument…
"Sesshomaru, you're a bastard!"
"Pleasant words from such a pleasant mouth," Sesshomaru said, turning away from me and to his desktop computer. "What happened to the three year old child I took in that couldn't say anything more than 'I love you?'"
"She grew up and found out how much of an ass you are, that's what happened."
"Isn't it nice to feel so loved," Sesshomaru replied dryly and sighed. "Kagome, you know that if it was up to me you would have that-"
"Why isn't it up to you?" I frowned. I was scrunching my face up in distaste, a look I knew that did not by any means suit me, but I couldn't help it. I was cursed with pale skin, sadly.
"This is a level one mission Kagome. I'm not authorized to give those missions…yet." Sesshomaru finally turned away from his computer and looked at me, giving me a strange look. He was probably wondering when I grew up so fast.
Hell, I didn't even know.
Also cursed with a tall voluptuous build, at eighteen I probably look to be in my twenties. Many people have already mistaken me as such, and annoying as it is, I try not to let the annoyance show. I have long, midnight black hair that reaches my lower back since I never cut it, and, cursed again, the locks are neither straight nor wavy but somewhere stuck in between.
Several times, Sesshomaru would comment on my looks, assessing that I looked like crap or looked okay (for once). His favourite line seemed to be "if only you could get rid of that scowl you wear twenty-four-seven, you would be a knockout."
And to think he raised me from the tender age of three…
"Then does that mean…the Head assigned it?" I asked, my eyes widening. Missions from the Head were hard to get and very few received such. Rumour has it that the Head is about as sane as a man in a straightjacket.
"Exactly," Sesshomaru answered indifferently. "You're the best agent Renege has."
"But I'm only level two," I argued. I really didn't want to go on this mission. "Send one of the adults; there are three of them at the required level but not me. Sesshomaru you promised I could–"
"I know, I know," he cut me off. Damn, I hated it when he did that. "But you know I can't argue. And as for sending one of the adults, they may fit the requirement for level but not for age. 'You' as I've been told 'are perfect.'"
"Just peachy," I muttered sarcastically. Perfect my ass. "So, when do I get briefed?"
"Tonight," Sesshomaru said, turning back towards the computer as it finished downloading. "It's in the great hall at nine o'clock tonight."
"Is the Head going to be there?"
"Is the meeting going to be long?"
"Will it be more than an hour?"
"Does the mission start in less than a week?"
"Sesshomaru, do you know the meaning of suicide?"
Sesshomaru finally turned his head and stared at me, deadpanned. I knew that look and it wasn't good. But I wasn't going to back down.
"I think I'll leave now," I announced, making sure Sesshomaru knew I was angry. I just couldn't believe Renege had done this to me. Making me go on a mission when all I wanted to do was–
"Just don't slam the door on your way out. Oh, and don't destroy anything in the office room either. Last time we had to pay a couple thousand in damages and insurance. Don't beat up Hojo no matter how much he deserves it and try not to be late," Sesshomaru went on.
God I hate the fact that he knows me. All perfect and seemingly angelic, the guy has the mind of a mastermind: cruel and heartless.
"Why don't you just attach a couple strings to me and call me Pinocchio?" I muttered, unable to stop the venom that dripped into each word. Before I let Sesshomaru reply, I just left the room, slamming the door against his wishes. If I didn't get my wish, he sure as hell wouldn't get his. I could imagine Sesshomaru cursing at his desk and despite the anger I felt, I smirked nonetheless.
"Never work for a place called Renege," I murmured sadly to myself as I walked through a room filled with several offices towards the main section. "It's bound to be only as good as its name."
Renege was a secret organization of agents that trained to protect and defend, to learn secrets and to destroy them. A rather simple plot for something so overly complicated. At the age of three, I had gotten lost and was left on the streets for a week or so, according to Sesshomaru. My parents had never reported me missing and I wasn't even sure I had sibling. I was alone in the world.
Hell, I'm not even sure they're alive.
So as I grew up, I'd learned that Renege was about as good as any other family. Several people lived in Renege and very few actually had a life outside of the organization. Since I never really had family, I struggled to become the best thing Renege had and through the years I had trained hard, studied like there was no tomorrow and focused everything on becoming the best.
Apparently, my goal was achieved. Dammit.
From the outside streets, Renege looked like just an ordinary office building and the entrance was treated like one. Unless they had ID relating them to the organization they were not allowed in. There were five floors to the building, none of them underground but most of it restricted or off limits.
The first floor contained the entrance and all the bedrooms. There were two long separate corridors, one for the women and the other for the men. The second floor held the offices. Other than having a large room filled with twenty or so rooms for the ordinary paper work, there were another couple branches as well, this time for the 'trainers' or people that organized your missions and status for you. Sort of like your very own manager. There were five trainers in Renege: Sesshomaru Taisho, Hachi Nakajima, Kaede Kyouda, Myoga Ogata and Urasue Ohta. The third floor was strictly for training with a pool room, weight room, gym and four training facilities in which the agent learned new abilities. The fourth and fifth were restricted floors and no one had a clue what was up there.
"Not many people really care either," I said under my breath as I finally made it to the main section. The main section was where the hall opened up to a square-shaped room and huge double doors led to the only freedom I had.
"Afternoon Higurashi," a light male voice said from behind and I mentally cursed. The universe really did hate me.
"Hey Hojo, how are you?" I forced a small smile upon my face and turned to see Hojo Ueda, one of the agents working for Renege. Only at level eight when there were ten different levels (one being the best), Hojo wasn't the best fighter and rarely went on missions. The only reason he was at Renege was because he was a technical genius.
Basically, modern day's Einstein.
And of course, Einstein had seemed to have fallen for me, of all the girls at Renege. Flattered as I was, I was definitely not into relationships of any sort other than friendship though Hojo didn't seem to understand that.
Sure, give him a computer program with thirty some odd viruses in it and he can fix the problem andupgrade it within an hour. Give him a girl that refuses to date and it takes him over a lifetime to understand the word 'no.'
It's all about balance…
Another thing that bugged me was that he refused to call me anything but Higurashi, my last name. I didn't understand the concept of that or how he thought it was easier but I guessed he thought it was more polite. Still…
"So, what are you doing tonight?" Hojo asked, a nervous smile plastered on his face.
I shrugged, trying to act casual and not rip my hair out. "Sango and I are having one of our usual catch up Friday night dinners and then I have a briefing at nine tonight."
Shaking his head, Hojo sighed. "You're constantly on missions Higurashi; I don't know how you do it. I can barely stand one a month."
I smiled. At least someone appreciated how much I did. "You get used to it. Pretty soon you'll be doing at least three a month."
"Yeah but how long was your last one," Hojo mused, thinking. "Wasn't it like two months long?"
Sighing and remembering the brutal memory of having to play the shy "boys have cooties" type girl when I was actually trying to secretly obtain information from my "boyfriend" who was also known as the mob leader for a major weapons trade that was going down.
"That was one hell of a mission," I said with a grin. Checking my watch, I saw that it was five-thirty, which gave me half an hour to get ready and find Sango and then two and a half hours of eating and chatting.
This really wasn't much time for someone I hadn't talked to in a month.
"Sorry Hojo, I have to run. See you later," I said quickly, already walking towards the doors that led to the female domain.
"Bye Higurashi! See you around!"
The second I walked through the doors, I saw my best friend Sango Houko walk out of her bedroom.
"Sango!" I cried and waved, smiling at the sight of the raven-haired girl. It was just so good to see her again.
"Oh, hey Kagome! I was just going to get you!"
Laughing, I jogged over to her and shook my head. "Sorry, Hojo wanted to talk."
Sango rolled her magenta eyes, a smirk playing at her full lips. "Sounds fascinating, I almost wish I'd been there."
"Ha, very funny Sango," I replied, rolling my eyes. "Come with me to my room and then we'll go get dinner. To the usual, I'm guessing?"
"Just like always," Sango smiled and together we walked only a couple doors down until we reached my room. Sliding my card key into the lock, a light flashed on and the handle unlocked, letting us walk inside to a quaint room. Walls covered in deep dark red, cherry wood furniture filled the room giving me a night table, dresser, armour and mirror. It wasn't exactly spacious but it was cozy and it made me feel better to be there.
"I always hated this colour," I murmured, referring to the dark red walls as I entered my room, the colour making me feel gloomy. "Let's hurry because we don't have that much time."
Sango looked confused. "Why? Aren't you taking the month off?"
I laughed bitterly, unable to contain the pain I felt at the moment. Life could really kick you down in the dirt sometimes. "I wish. The Head assigned me a new mission. My vacation is over and it didn't even start."
Sango gave me a slight hug and then left me to change in the bathroom. When I came out we were both ready to go.
"So do you know what the mission's about?" Sango asked me curiously and I shook my head.
"Not a clue. I'm getting briefed tonight at nine which is why we have to hurry but what's weird is Sesshomaru didn't even hint at what it was about. Normally he would say a couple things that would give me a clue."
"Maybe he's as baffled as you are by this," Sango offered and I nodded. It was definitely a possibility. Though Sesshomaru pretended to be all-powerful and all-knowing, it was really just a stupid façade.
"True. How did your mission go? Didn't you get back two nights ago?"
Sango huffed slightly and sighed. "It went smoothly. No problems, no danger, just grab the kid and go." A rueful smile crossed her lips. "It was too easy."
"Don't worry," I reassured. I knew for a fact that Sango hated the easy missions. "I have a feeling that Hachi is going to give you a level up."
Hachi, Sango's trainer, was a racoon demon and was very loyal and intelligent. He must have easily saw how unhappy Sango was about these simple missions so I had that funny feeling that Sango's level four was soon to be a level three. Well, I hoped anyways.
"Oh," Sango said suddenly, "I'm having a meeting tomorrow. I think it's about another mission. Not really sure, Hachi didn't give me much detail about it."
"Is it early in the morning?" I asked and Sango nodded.
"Eight a.m. I swear after coming back here I thought I would never see the light of day again I was so tired. I just wanted to sleep for days. Now, I'm getting restless again."
I laughed. Leave it to Sango to always be doing something or complaining for not doing anything. "Sounds like it."
"I hope it's about the Shikon mission," Sango said wistfully. "But you need to be level three at least for that. Unless Hachi upgrades me in the morning I doubt I'll be assigned to do it."
One of the biggest missions going on at the moment was the Shikon mission. The objection was to find the missing Shikon Jewel that belonged to a woman named Midoriko. Once a member at Renege herself, Midoriko's final and lifelong mission was to protect the jewel but after fighting a terrible disease, someone stole it from her. The disease Midoriko has now left her in the hospital and unable to find it so Renege was sending two of its agents to retrieve it. It was the mission of a lifetime.
And Sango wanted it.
"Come on Sango," I said full-heartedly, knowing that if I didn't change the topic now, Sango would forever remain talking about it. "We're going out to have some fun away from Renege. Let's end this conversation right here and now."
Laughing and bumping into me playfully, Sango agreed.
Little did I know, while I was busy having fun, others were plotting…
The sense of dread that filled him was almost too much to bear. The anticipation of getting caught, of being followed, of being killed – it was so much pressure, so much responsibility.
So much fun.
The dark forest surrounded him as he dashed in and out of the trees, his dark hair gleaming and flying in the wind. It was a pretty straight path and one he knew well. His eyes glowed in the blackness that swallowed the earth and the large canopy of leaves hid the view of the very few stars that ventured out on such a dark night. His breathing and the sound of leaves crunching beneath his feet were the only audible noises and even as he stopped to catch his breath, the world around him remained silent, still, as if waiting for him to make a mistake.
It was a challenge he was willing to accept.
Continuing on with his running, the path soon opened up into a small clearing, a ring of trees circling the small section that held nothing but grass that needed to be cut. He stood in the middle anxiously, his body unmoving, his legs tense as he readied.
"Well, hello to you too."
"Shut up and listen. It's time."
Cursing he shifted his weight, looking around him to try and point out the bearings of his visitor.
"You won't be able to find me."
"Figures," he sighed and looked up towards the sky in the only place that he could see it. "Why now? I told you this was simple enough."
"But it's not and you know it. It's taking too long and we can no longer afford that time."
Huffing, he growled irritated. "I can no longer afford doing this but no, who gives a damn if I die?"
"You know that's not true."
A heavy silence filled between the two and suddenly, he was no longer comfortable being out in the open. There was just something about it, something about to occur…
"What do you need to tell me?" he asked quickly, once again trying to pinpoint where his visitor was. "I have to go. I've wasted enough time here already."
"Very well," his visitor said understandingly and started to speak, going through details of a plan yet to go in action.
It was a good half-hour when the lecture was over and looking towards the sky, he cursed.
"They're not going to question you," his visitor said, smirking slightly at the other's uneasiness. "You have a very valuable excuse."
"You're just saying that to piss me off."
Sighing and turning around, the dark-haired boy looked once more around in the darkness, failing to understand the point of secrecy on such a night. "This really was a waste. You told me absolutely nothing that I didn't already know."
"Possibly, but you know very well that if I hadn't told you, you would have come after me biting my head off."
Smiling to himself, he mentally agreed though huffed loudly to show that he was offended. His guest of course was right, but he wouldn't let him know that.
It would just overstuff his ego more.
"Do you have another rendezvous planned or am I to be left in the dark?"
"Trust me, you'll be busy. I think I should leave you in the dark for now but you will be hailed again. I promise."
"Great. I just can't wait," he murmured sarcastically and then with a small wave, ran back into the trees.
"Wait," his visitor called. "I have to tell you just one more thing."
"No one is to know. This secret is between you and me. Identity is essential at this time."
"You mean not even-"
"Not even," his guest confirmed.
Scowling, he turned around once more and ran, and this time, he didn't stop.
"Kagome Higurashi, you are well aware that you are the best Renege has, correct?"
"And you are aware this is a very dangerous mission and that we would not send you on this if we did not have complete and utter faith in you?"
But no pressure, honestly. Bug-eyes isn't exactly the best motivational speaker. Too bad I had the joy of being stuck with him for over an hour.
"Very good, now where is your trainer?"
"He's getting his copy of the folder sir since he was not provided with one."
"Very– What are you talking about? Who was the numbskull that forgot to do that?"
I sighed and looked at the ancient man before me. "I don't know sir. Who's responsible for level one missions?"
Hmm, well isn't that just great. The rumours were definitely true. The Head was crazy and if I live to make it out of this, they will be rumours no longer.
They will be facts.
"Then I guess it's you."
"Hmm, maybe it was me…"
"Totosai Yanami, a pleasure to see you once again." Suddenly, Sesshomaru's smooth voice entered the room and all thoughts and annoyances disappeared with it.
I looked at Sesshomaru who was dressed like he was that morning, a loose white button up shirt with black dress pants. He was a demon, not especially uncommon in Renege and had long silvery white hair that reached his hips with amber pools that seemed to suck you in. The only thing I realized about my drop-dead gorgeous trainer after all these years was that if you didn't know him, he could be the coldest person you'd ever meet. Very rarely he showed emotion and it was even rarer for him to express it.
When I saw him look at me, I turned my attention back to Totosai, the Head of Renege. He had fine peppery hair with a bald spot on the top of his head. With what hair he had left, he pulled it into a rat's tail in the back. The same coloured beard grew from his chin and he had probably the largest olive green eyes I had ever seen. Hence the nickname 'bug-eyes.'
Personally, I thought it was very fitting though possibly insulting to bugs.
"As I was saying Kagome, this is a very dangerous task and must be handled with extreme care and caution. Your life is the biggest factor in this mission. There are no second chances."
Thank you bug-eyes. Now I am so pumped for this mission.
"There is definitely the factor of death–"
"Totosai, I think Kagome knows the risks that she's taking," Sesshomaru cut in before he could continue. "This is a late enough meeting and I don't know about you but I have a truck-load of office work to do, so if we can get straight to the point I think we would all greatly appreciate it."
I could've kissed Sesshomaru for that. Thank god.
This didn't of course mean that I liked Sesshomaru or anything…hell no. Other than the ten year age difference and the fact that Sesshomaru practically taught me everything I knew, I saw Sesshomaru more as an older brother.
Despite the cold front that seemed to blast your way every time you talked to him.
"Good thinking Sesshomaru," Totosai agreed and then snapped his fingers. "This mission is called the Twofold Mission. Simply because the objective of this is to become a double agent for Renege."
I didn't know what to say. The only words that came to mind were as followed: Oh. Shit.
"Now, I know this may seem difficult and quite frankly it is, but Renege has utter faith in you."
"So you've told me," I drawled, unbelieving to what I was hearing. Me? A double agent? Bahahahaha. "Can I get more details please?"
"You will be working for Hell's Mark, a group of people bent on taking over the world."
I felt like singing the theme song from Pinky and the Brain, once my favourite childhood TV show but held it in. From the looks of it, Totosai was serious.
"But that's not their first goal. Hell's Mark, for whatever reason, is trying to obtain something valuable, something that will make them too powerful. The team itself is made up of all demons so you'll have to prove yourself. We're already working on getting you into their team and if everything goes as planned, you'll start on Sunday."
"Sunday?" I gasped. Whoa now, this was not fair. "That's not that much time! I mean, that's only a little more than twenty-four hours!"
"Sesshomaru will give you everything you need to know. No equipment will be necessary and other than knowing knowledgeable facts about the places you've robbed, people you've killed and reputation you've made for yourself, nothing else is needed."
For some reason, that last part didn't sound right. "Sir, I've never robbed someone before and I've certainly never killed an innocent."
"That's the wonders of the Internet! Just try not to make a scene in public and you'll do just great. We have utter faith in you Ms. Higurashi."
I didn't know whether to shoot myself or the ancient one in front of me.
In the end, I chose the latter.
But I didn't get the chance. Dammit.
So now that Renege has told the world that I'm a murderer, life just seemed to get so much clearer. It sucked. It really, really did.
And what was with the 'I have utter faith in you?' Ha. That's good to know.
The final words are always a kick.
What is this? Depress Kagome Day? When did life get so twisted? Honestly, I have one piece of advice for all of you. Never work for a company that has a name that could possibly kill you with irony.
And for all of you that don't understand the meaning of renege, go look it up in the dictionary. Irony is a cruel, cruel thing. Trust me, if I don't die on this mission, the irony will probably take care of it.
Feedback is always appreciated!