A/N: Hello there! This is my first Inuyasha-based fic. I have others dealing predominately with Pirates of the Caribbean. But now I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm not perfectly sure yet where this story is going, but hopefully towards a lovely SessKag romance. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Sesshy all to my very own, I don't. Otherwise I wouldn't be here. Just for the sake of not going to jail, I own nothing but the plot.
Heat of Reaction - by LonelyLark
A light wind tickled the treetops, casting dancing shadows on the forest floor, their boughs reaching towards the inviting embrace of the sun. The tall grass of the meadows swayed in time with the breeze, giving soft rustling sighs as they slowly awoke green from their seasonal slumber. Winter had come suddenly this year, a biting frost having settled all across the region without warning. Now the cold was waning, and the sensitive vegetation crept warily from its hibernation in anticipation of the coming spring.
A lone figure walked beneath the trees, humming softly a lofty tune. A well-worn yellow canvas bag hung carelessly on one shoulder, one hand holding lightly to the strap that secured its place. The figure went easily on its way through the foliage, already accustomed to the territory and unafraid of anything that may attack. After all, three years had already passed.
It had been three years since Kagome had first fallen down the shrine well – or was dragged down it, rather, on her fifteenth birthday. It had been three years since she'd landed in Feudal Japan and freed Inuyasha. It had been three years ago that she'd met the cursed monk, the demon slayer, and kitsune who became her traveling companions, three years ago that she'd entered into battle with Naraku. For the past three years, she had commuted between their past and her future. It had been three years that she'd loved him…
Kagome sighed as she emerged from the forest into the clearing that housed the Bone Eater's well. Her eighteenth birthday was fast approaching, and she planned to spend the few days preceding it in the comforts of her home, with her long-neglected family. She had been back only briefly for supplies in the past three months, as the search for the last few shards of the Shikon no Tama became more complicated. Naraku, as always the conniving Hanyou he was, had pulled another disappearing act. They had yet to find trace of him, and the sudden calm had left everyone on edge.
Reaching the well, Kagome stopped, looking at it thoughtfully. The dried well, which sat ancient in the future shrine, was old even in the Feudal era. It would look innocent to all others who passed it, those who didn't know of its magic. It was deceptive, sitting there all worn and solitary in the center of the clearing with flowers sprouting sparsely at its base.
Kagome placed her hand on the splintering wooden beam that framed the well and stroked it half fondly, half resentfully. The well had brought her adventure unlike anything she could have imagined, but it had also brought her incredible danger. It had brought her love and friendship, but it had also caused her heartache. Her eyes slipped closed as she let out another sigh.
"Kami, I'm so stupid," she said with a melancholy smile.
Kagome yelped and jumped slightly, the deep voice startling her. Turning around quickly to face the source of the disturbance, she immediately regretted her decision to leave her archery weapon in Kaede's hut.
Before her, only several paces away, stood the Taiyoukai Lord of the West. He stood regally as was his custom, the empty left sleeve of his elegant white haroi billowing gently as it caught the wind.
Kagome swallowed hard as she fought to keep her legs from running, an action she imagined would only incense the dog lord. Taking a deep breath, she stood straighter and looked him in the eye, stabilizing her legs with the well behind her.
"What do you want, Sesshoumaru? Inuyasha isn't here."
Sesshoumaru narrowed sun-kissed eyes at the lack of formality she showed for his title. Her tone was not disrespectful, however. If he was honest, which he always was, he had expected her to flee to his half-brother as soon as he made his entrance, but to his surprise she had not. Despite her evident fear, the scent of which was rolling off her in waves, she had braced herself before him and brazenly looked him in the eye. For this, he decided, he would hold her to a slightly higher esteem than the Hanyou.
"This Sesshomaru will ignore your disrespect toward his person, and the fact that you have not answered the question he so pointedly directed you," he said in his even tone. "And you may relax, miko. I come not for the half-breed, nor to harm those of your pack unnecessarily." Once assured she had relaxed, judging by the shift in her posture, he commenced speaking before she could interject.
"I have come directly to request your assistance. Rin has fallen ill with a human malady, and I wish to avoid contact with the nearby villages. This Sesshoumaru is aware that your short experience as a miko has provided you with the skills necessary to cure the ill, and so you shall come."
Kagome listened patiently as the Western Lord explained his unexpected visit. The feeling of anxiety she at first experienced had greatly abated. Although she did not know him thoroughly – only through battle, really – she knew that if anything Sesshoumaru was an honest demon. He prized honor and dignity above all else, and although he could be quite vicious, she never felt him to be insincere in his convictions.
The fact that he had sought her out specifically somewhat surprised her. He knew she traveled with his brother, and everyone knew how badly he disliked Inuyasha. It was her assumption, then, that he found everyone who kept his friendship just as detestable, but here he was requesting her aid.
Well, more like demanding it.
Was his child-ward, Rin, truly that sick?
Although Kagome didn't like to be rudely bossed around, she knew not to expect more from the aristocratic inuyoukai. As Lord, the power of his word was great and certainly rarely challenged by those who knew him. It was his manner of expression, something that she knew would never change, and she accepted it without offence.
Sighing inwardly, Kagome glanced at the well behind her, letting the silence between them stretch. She had planned on returning home for her birthday and indulging in some of the comforts the past simply couldn't provide, but if Rin truly was sick she knew she would have to stay. Sesshoumaru was no doubt truly in need of assistance if he was coming to her for help, and somehow she couldn't help but feel that the little girl he'd adopted needed a woman to help cure her. Kagome herself had only wanted her mother around when she was sick, and Jaken hardly counted as even a guardian.
Looking back at Sesshoumaru, she nodded firmly. "Okay, I'll help. Where is she?"
"Rin is at camp, with Jaken." Sesshoumaru swiftly turned with ethereal grace and once again disappeared into the forest. Taking it as a sign to follow, Kagome gathered her belongings and set off after him, not willing to get lost.
When Kagome and Sesshoumaru reached camp, the sun had already passed its midday mark in the sky. Embers were smoldering in the fire pit, beside which sat the green-tinted retainer of the Western Lord. The smoky smell of fish cooked over a fire wafted in the air, signifying the noon meal had either begun or recently ended.
"My Lord!" Jaken squawked as he ran towards Sesshoumaru. "You're back, my Lord! Your – My Lord your brother's wench has imposed on our campsite! Let me take care of her," he raged, already pointing his two-headed staff at her.
"Jaken," Sesshoumaru said so coldly that even Kagome's arm-hair bristled, "Cease your stupidity. I have brought the miko here. Direct her to Rin," he finished with a menacing glare.
"Yes, my Lord, right away," Jaken bowed. "Come, wench."
Kagome followed Jaken to a space farther away from the fire pit, trying not to think badly of Sesshoumaru's retainer. When they came upon Rin, she knelt beside her. The child lay asleep on the ground in an orange and yellow kimono. A large leaf was set a foot or so beside her with untouched fish, ready to be eaten.
"I did not wish Jaken to wake her," Sesshoumaru spoke from behind Kagome as she reached her hand out towards the child. "I understand ningen illness requires rest."
Ignoring the warning in Sesshoumaru's voice, Kagome began to gently shake the sleeping girl awake. "Yes, but she needs to eat in order to gain the strength to recuperate."
Rin began to stir, blearily opening an eye before testing the other one against her surroundings. When she saw Kagome, she smiled weakly and yawned before suddenly frowning.
"Hi Rin," Kagome spoke happily. "I'm here to take care of you."
Rin smiled before frowning again. "Kagome, my throat hurts," she said weakly.
"Does it, now?" Kagome asked. "And how about your head?" When the little girl nodded, Kagome put her hand to her forehead, only to find that she was burning up. Rin then gave a cough and Kagome retracted her hand.
"Does your stomach hurt too?"
Rin shook her head in the negative.
"Good. Sit up, now. It's time to eat."
"But my throat hurts," Rin whined. Behind her Sesshoumaru huffed pointedly.
"It doesn't matter, Rin," Kagome said, watching the Lord through the corner of her eye, "You need to eat to get better." Rin nodded understandingly and sat up as Kagome had requested, beginning to eat her portion of river fish.
As the little girl ate, Kagome stood and began making preparations. Sesshoumaru watched her curiously as she took out a black roll of what looked like a bundle of sheets, and laid it on the ground like a portable futon. When Rin had finished, he watched as Kagome ushered her into the open fold of the futon, stroking Rin's hair and talking nonsense until she fell asleep. It was then she approached him.
"I need to go home," she said.
Sesshoumaru raised a fine silver eyebrow. "Through that well?"
"Eh, yes," Kagome affirmed, "temporarily."
Kagome balked at his instant refusal. "But-"
"You have a duty to fulfill."
"I need to gather supplies from my time in order for Rin to cure more quickly," she explained, trying to keep her rising anger from showing. Sesshoumaru noticed with secret amusement. He was somewhat skeptical of the medicinal potential of her homeland. It was unknown to him, her dwelling, the only thing he knew of it was that it lay beyond the well that had at some point brought her to his lands.
"Gather herbs in the forest." Unmoving, he watched her critically.
"There are many advances in medicine where I'm from," she told him, her eyes closed with frustration. "They would heal her faster. I'll be very brief – I'll just get what I need and return quickly."
"Hn." Blinking slowly, Sesshoumaru consented. "Return by sundown."
"Thank you, Sesshoumaru-sama." Kagome smiled and bowed graciously before grabbing her yellow sack and running from the small clearing. As she headed in the direction of the well, she began to formulate her plan of action.
It would be easy for her to disappear from the Feudal era altogether, if she wanted. She hardly believed the well would allow Sesshoumaru to pass, and Sesshoumaru himself must have considered this. This was not her plan, however; Sesshoumaru had given her his trust in letting her go on her own, and Kagome knew his trust was not given lightly. She would go to her time as she promised: only to pick up the medical supplies needed for her assigned task. What concerned her now was Inuyasha.
Kagome had informed her group that she would be absent from them for some time. She was expected to return in five days. Inuyasha, always impatient, had at last accepted her decision, unhappily as it was. If she knew him as well as she thought, he would be climbing from the well house on the break of the fifth day to drag her back.
The five days she had been allowed – birthday included – she would spend nursing Rin to health. The girl's cold did not seem too developed, but years had taught Kagome that what seemed like an innocent cough could easily turn into a flu that could prove fatal in the feudal era. Lucky for them, the advances of the future gave Kagome the ability to hopefully contain and prevent the virus that had infected Sesshoumaru's ward. The only obstacles she had to overcome were:
1.) Curing Rin in the span of three short days.
2.) Curing Rin before Inuyasha's nose revealed the fact that she had not, in fact, gone home, therefore leading him to Sesshoumaru, therefore leading to another "epic" battle between brothers, and thus giving Kagome one big headache, and
3.) Curing Rin while managing not to get sick herself.
Mulling over the problems that stood in her way, Kagome burst into the well clearing for the second time that day. It would be a disappointment to her mother, brother, and grandfather that she would not be staying for her eighteenth birthday, much less dinner. It would also be a great disappointment to herself. Even so, it was a mission she would simply have to undertake. Her spirit had always been one of giving, and it was simply not in her to turn a blind eye to an ailing child, much less one she knew.
In a way it would be interesting, Kagome thought wistfully as she straddled the well. She had never truly been close enough to Sesshoumaru outside of battle to say she knew him, and she was excited at the chance to study him, even though so far he seemed just as she had surmised: cold, regal, and authoritative. This venture might also be a chance to fool Inuyasha for once. She smirked at the notion. Something magical about the feudal era was that you never knew what could happen. Expecting the unexpected was a plan to fail, because the unexpected was always much more unexpected than one could expect.
Kagome shook her head, having confused herself with the irony of the unexpected truly being unexpected. Pulling her other leg over the side of the well, she threw her bag and jumped.
This might truly turn out to be interesting.