The Lucky Ones
By Terri Botta
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha. Sole copyright belongs to Viz and Rumiko Takashi. I'm poor so don't sue.
Rating: R for later chapters.
Pairing: Inuyasha/Kagome, Miroku/Sango
Summary: Sometimes Fate hands you a gift you never thought you'd ever get, and it's up to you to accept it for what it is.
Feedback to: isilwath (at) comcast . net
Website: www . wordsmiths . net / Botta
This story was originally posted on here and it was deleted after almost 40 chapters were posted. I am posting the first chapter here again.
THE REST OF THIS STORY IN ITS COMPLETION IS ONLY AVAILABLE AT MEDIA MINER OR MY FAN FICTION WEBSITE. The Media Miner version can be found here: www . mediaminer . org / fanfic / view (underscore) st.php / 54993 (remove the extra spaces)
ALSO: I am announcing my latest original fiction novel. Please see my website for a link to the details. Thank you and enjoy!!
Higurashi Kagome rubbed her neck and sighed, taking a break from her studies. She looked around her and found Inuyasha lying in that boneless way only he seemed to be able to manage, and suppressed a smile. Even though she had been with him for almost two years, there were still things about him that she never tired of. Sitting in Kaede's hut and enjoying each other's quiet company was one of them.
He noticed her movement immediately and turned golden eyes her way.
"Done already?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Not yet. Just… my neck is stiff."
He moved behind her and lifted her hair, his talented fingers finding the muscle knots and dispatching them with ruthless efficiency.
"Baka. It's because you sit all scrunched up," he scolded gently, rubbing her neck.
"Mmmmmmmmmmmm," she groaned, and didn't have to look at him to know that he was blushing. "I do it just so you'll rub my neck just like that."
"Feh," was all he said, but he didn't stop and she was fine with that.
After so long together, he knew her pretty well, and his fingers moved unerringly across her skin. He was well familiar with the usual culprits: two lumps on either side of the base of her neck that needed special attention from the pads of his thumbs. She closed her eyes and let her head fall back to his shoulder as he worked on them, relaxing under his tender touch and letting her mind wander.
Two years. She'd be seventeen soon. She wondered if she could convince Inuyasha to let her stay in her time for a whole week as a birthday present. Maybe he'd even come and spend a couple of days at the house, and they'd have some quiet time there. Gods knew they could use a little down-time from hunting for shards. Inuyasha would never admit it, but he did get tired and often she had to play the 'weak human' in order to get him to rest.
Hunting for shards, however, was what kept them together. Or rather, that was the reason the both of them gave for her constant time travel. They had to find the shards and complete the Shikon no Tama… for the second time. At least this time around Naraku was dead. Although, it would have been nice if he hadn't shattered his almost completed jewel in a final resounding 'fuck you' to the ones who killed him, and sent the shards once again flying all over Feudal Japan, but one couldn't have everything.
In truth, she was glad of it because she really hadn't known what was going to happen after the jewel was completed. Would Inuyasha have chosen to become a full youkai? Would Kikyou have come to claim her former lover's life? Would the well have sealed and cut her off from her second family forever? In the end, Naraku smashing the jewel actually did her a favor, and she was oddly grateful in a 'damn I am sure glad the bastard's dead but at least I still have The Quest' kind of way.
So yes, Naraku was dead and burned to an ashen crisp- his remains scattered to the four winds, courtesy of Kagura who turned out to be an unlikely ally. Who actually killed him was still a matter of contention with both Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha claiming responsibility for destroying their hated enemy. Inuyasha boasted loudly that Tessaiga and her Kongousouha had dealt the killing blow, but Sesshoumaru, in his typical style had responded with what amounted to a very narcissistic 'in your dreams, whelp' and claimed Toukijin had sliced the evil hanyou to pieces. For Kagome, she really didn't care who killed Naraku, only that he was dead, dead, dead, but knowing Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha, they'd probably be coming to blows over it for centuries. To be honest, Kagome secretly suspected that Naraku's death had less to do with the attacks of the two brothers, and more to do with the baby Kagura had skewered when she thought no one was looking, but she was wisely staying out of it.
With Naraku gone, shard hunting was somewhat more relaxed, which was a good thing because- miracles of miracles- she had passed the high school entrance exams and was now entering her second year. Jii-chan had finally gotten wise and arranged for Kagome to be declared a special case, diagnosing her with some long term disease that amounted to her being allowed to continue the majority of her studies at home- or in Kaede's hut as was usually the case. She just had to show up twice a month to get her assignments and also to take the exams, but other than that, if she wasn't in school, it didn't count against her. With the pressure off- in both her world and in the Sengoku Jidai- her grades improved and no one complained about her attendance anymore.
As for the other members of their group, Miroku and Sango had married shortly after Naraku's defeat. With Naraku dead, Miroku's Kazanna thankfully disappeared, leaving him free to contemplate a full and long life, and he made good on his proposal to the young taijiya. They, along with Sango's little brother Kohaku and Shippo, lived in Kaede's village and went along on the shard hunts- at least for now. They were expecting their first child that summer.
All in all, life was good. Her studies were going well, the time slip still allowed her to travel between worlds, she still had purpose and felt useful, she still learned herbalism from Kaede, and she was still able to be with Inuyasha- whom she still loved with an intensity that frightened her sometimes.
If there were any downsides to things, it was probably that Kikyou was still undead and still wandering around. Every now and then she'd rear her poker face and prove that Inuyasha was still very much her dog. He'd go unstable at the first sight of her Shinidama-chuu, and Kagome knew there was no helping it. He would go off and she would try to forgive him. Usually, though, she'd get irritated and 'sit' him a few times just to remind him that she could. It was either that or take Sango's suggestion and push him off a cliff so he couldn't walk- preferably on the night of the New Moon to ensure maximum damage. But she couldn't blame him, not really. She'd long ago come to terms with the fact that Kikyou still held part of Inuyasha's heart- whether it was nostalgia or guilt or a bit of both, the undead miko still held a great deal of sway over the hanyou and there was nothing she could do about it.
What bothered Kagome was that Kikyou knew it and used it, breezing into Inuyasha's life at odd intervals to yank his leash and remind him that he was responsible for her death. It was especially troublesome because Kagome suspected that Kikyou really didn't want Inuyasha, and would probably not know what to do with him if she ever did take him. They were drastically different people from the two young lovers they had been 52 years ago- the whole undead thing notwithstanding. Kikyou had made some seriously questionable decisions regarding Naraku and the Shikon no Tama; and Inuyasha was no longer the outcast hanyou looking for somewhere to belong. Whenever they were together these days, she had noticed that the two of them were trying less and less to recapture what they had shared, and she hoped that meant that they were beginning to realize that they had outgrown each other and their "love."
Kagome also questioned the purity of Kikyou's "love," and wondered if what she and the hanyou had shared all those years ago had actually been love or if had just been mutual need. She doubted either of them had really known what love was. Back then, Inuyasha had been bitter, insolent, and distrustful, but lonely. And Kikyou had been weary of the suffering she was forced to endure and wanted to be a normal woman. The two of them had come together in a strange relationship full of contradiction and mistrust. Neither fully accepted the other, and both were full of hate. They were easy targets for Naraku, a pair of veritable sitting ducks.
Kagome hoped and prayed that Inuyasha now knew better about love. She had tried to show him that true love never asked someone else to become something they weren't, or to make huge sacrifices in order to "prove" their love. She took every opportunity to reinforce that she at the very least liked him as he was, and he would never need to change in order to gain her approval. She often hoped that Kikyou was learning the same lessons that Inuyasha was learning about the nature of love, and wished it would help the undead miko find some kind of peace. If Kikyou could find peace, it was likely that she'd release Inuyasha from his tether and free him to be with her. She knew that Inuyasha's promise to Kikyou was the single biggest thing keeping him from committing himself to her, and she dreaded the day Kikyou came to collect on the promise.
If anything, the biggest comfort Kagome had was that the Shikon no Tama wasn't complete so Kikyou had no reason to take it, and Inuyasha. She didn't know what she would do if Kikyou came to redeem her claim on Inuyasha's life. The hanyou was her whole world, and it would destroy her if he were taken away. She knew this, just as surely as she knew it would destroy him. The strain of being forced to choose between the two women he cared about would probably do him serious damage, which was why Kagome had never demanded it of him. Besides, if she made that demand, what made her any better than Kikyou who almost dragged a helpless Inuyasha to Hell? Above all things, she wanted Inuyasha to live and be happy. She wanted there to be good times between them, and she wanted to see him smile. And, in the darkness of the night when Inuyasha slept nearby, she admitted that she wanted to spend the rest of her life by his side.
All of them had been at Miroku and Sango's wedding, which had been a lovely ceremony that still made Kagome's heart warm to remember it. She had dreams of her own wedding- usually in Hawaii or some other tropical setting… she'd wear a beautiful dress and have flowers in her hair, they'd hold the ceremony at sunset to catch the dying light on the beach, the colors would reflect in Inuyasha's golden eyes… But then reality would set in and she figured she'd probably marry in her family's shrine, and spend the majority of her wedding night coaxing a nervous virgin hanyou out of the God Tree. So much for romantic fantasies.
"Oi. You're brooding again," Inuyasha's voice said, breaking her out of her thoughts.
She opened her eyes to look up at him and gave him a soft smile. "Just thinking."
"Well, stop thinking. Whatever it is it's making you all tense again," he complained, rubbing at her neck again.
"Sorry. I'll try to stop."
"Feh," he sniffed, but pulled her into his arms, resting her back against his chest and cocooning her in the diaphanous folds of his haori.
She sighed and relaxed completely. His arms were the safest place she'd ever known, and it was in those arms when she knew he loved her. Even if the words had never left his lips, here was where she could feel it radiating from him in the cadence of his breathing and the beat of his heart. She could spend hours just like this, and often did. Sometimes they'd even sleep this way, curled up around each other, her cheek to his shoulder and his chin on her head.
'I could almost sleep like this right now. I can always finish studying tomorrow. I don't have a test for another two weeks…' she thought, snuggling into him. She heard him chuckle softly.
A short time later she felt him stiffen and sniff the air, and she came fully awake immediately. Knowing him as she did, she knew that something was amiss and he sensed it with his acute hanyou nose.
"What is it?" she asked, concerned.
She pulled away from him and grabbed her first aid kit, then she got on his back and they left the hut at full speed. Halfway through the village they were met by one of the men.
"Inuyasha-sama!" the man called and Inuyasha halted long enough to talk to him.
Since his resurrection from Kikyou's seal, his diligent protection of the village from youkai had earned him a place of respect among the villagers.
"There is…" the man began.
Inuyasha sniffed and homed in on the location of the blood scent. "I know. Find Kaede," he replied and leaped off towards the source of the smell.
Kagome saw where they were going well before they got there. Several on-lookers had already gathered around something on the edge of the village, just across the river. Inuyasha leaped the river in one jump and they landed with barely a thump on the other side.
"Get outta the way!" he ordered, pushing his way through the gaggle of people to see what it was.
A woman knelt on the ground, haggard and exhausted. She was huddled upon herself, barely clinging to life, but she looked up when they approached and her eyes filled with hope. Inuyasha put Kagome down and she rushed to the woman's side.
"You're hurt," she said without preamble, but the woman only had eyes for Inuyasha.
"Are you… are you the hanyou Inuyasha?" she asked in a breathless whisper.
"Who wants to know?" he replied defensively.
Kagome took the opportunity to lift the woman's heavy cloak from behind and what she saw made her gasp. Three broken arrows were embedded in the woman's back and her kimono was stained with blood, both fresh and dried.
"Is this… is this Inuyasha's village?" the woman asked, a desperate note in her voice.
"Yes, Okaa-san," Kagome comforted. "This is Inuyasha's village and that is Inuyasha. Here, we need to get you into the healer's hut and treat your wounds. You've lost a lot of blood…"
The woman seemed to wilt with relief and tears began to fall from her eyes.
"Please… please… my baby… my baby…"
Inuyasha was on one knee in front of her immediately. "What baby? Where is the baby?"
The woman slowly uncurled her body, her arms and cloak separating to reveal a baby sling. With shaking hands she lifted the blanket-wrapped bundle from the carrier, and the infant turned to face them. The onlookers gasped.
'Oh my god…' Kagome thought, as the blanket fell away from the baby's head and they got a good look.
It was an inu-hanyou just like Inuyasha. Tiny puppy ears stuck out from a mass of unruly silver hair and two huge golden eyes peered out at them from a baby face.
"Please… save my baby," the woman pleaded, offering the infant.
Inuyasha practically tripped over himself to back away, shock and disbelief written all over his face.
Kagome moved to accept the infant who was now squirming and whimpering.
"It's okay Okaa-san. We'll keep your baby safe, but please let us take you to the healer…"
The woman let out a choked sob, then coughed up a mouthful of blood and collapsed in the dirt. Kagome flinched and clutched the baby to her chest as she backed away.
"Inuyasha. Quickly, take her to Kaede's hut!"
Inuyasha looked down at her with pity. "I'll do it, but I don't think it's going to make a difference. She's got the scent of death on her already."
"Then we can give her something for the pain," she countered.
Inuyasha nodded and picked up the woman's limp form, carrying her carefully through the village. Kagome followed behind, holding the infant close, but he'd already started to fuss.
"Hush, baby. Hush. We'll feed you soon."
"He's not hungry," Inuyasha told her.
"Eh? He's not?"
Inuyasha looked at her from the corner of his eye as they hurried down the main road through the village. "You don't smell like his mother. For an inu-youkai pup, to be separated from its mother means certain death. Pups instinctually know this and memorize the mother's scent within hours of being born. Your scent is unknown to him and he's frightened. He wants his mother."
'But his mother isn't going to make it…' she thought sadly, looking down at the pitiful little face. He was whimpering and had balled up his tiny fists. It broke her heart.
On the way to Kaede's, they were joined by Miroku, Sango and Shippo on Kirara.
"Kagome-chan?" Sango asked, coming alongside them as they ran.
"We have to get to Kaede's hut!" she answered.
Miroku nodded and jumped off Kirara, giving room for Kagome to get on.
"Go, Inuyasha," Kagome told him, and he leaped off at full speed, knowing Kirara could keep up with him.
The woman held on for another hour, her breathing becoming shallower and more labored as her lungs obviously filled up with fluid. There was nothing anyone could do for her, but Kaede made a doping medicine that she assured would dull the pain the poor woman was suffering. Kagome sat close to her so the infant could smell his mother's scent, although the blood-smell had to be bothering him because he would not stop fussing. In the end, they all gathered around her and she lived long enough to tell them her story.
She had been the beloved of an inu-youkai in a country to the north. As long as she was with the youkai, she was under his protection and the villagers left her alone. However, shortly after her son was born, her beloved was killed. He had once told her that if something should ever happen to him, she should run for Musashi. There she would find a village where the hanyou Inuyasha lived. The hanyou was the village's protector, and she and the baby would be safe there.
Upon hearing the news of her lover's death, she immediately ran for her and her baby's lives, but they were hunted down by the villagers, hell bent on killing the demon lover and the infant. They thought they had killed her and gave up the chase, but she had only been wounded. She had traveled four days with her wounds, in order to reach her destination. Again, she pleaded for her child's life, knowing that she herself was mortally wounded. In fact, the only thing that had kept her alive this long was the knowledge that she had to get her baby to safety.
Inuyasha listened to the woman's tale and Kagome saw the emotions playing across his face: hate for the villagers and rage at what they had done, surprise at hearing that another inu-youkai knew of him and felt his hanyou son would be safe under his protection, sadness for the woman's pain and suffering, and pity for her poor, little soon-to-be orphaned pup.
"Okaa-san," he said softly, shocking all of them with his term of respect. "I promise you. Your pup is safe now. I will protect him from all harm."
Tears fell from the woman's eyes and she gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you."
She passed peacefully a few minutes later, her breath leaving her in one long sigh. They knew the moment she was gone because the infant began to wail and he would not be consoled.
READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT MEDIA MINER OR MY FAN FICTION WEBSITE. The Media Miner version can be found here: www . mediaminer . org / fanfic / view (underscore) st.php / 54993 (remove the extra spaces)
ALSO: Please see my website (in my profile) for a link to the details about my NEW NOVEL. Thank you and enjoy!!