Sesshomaru turned a red-eyed glare on him, and Inuyasha heard Kagome gulp behind him. He moved forward, frowning as he went to the well and peered down into its depths. He looked up at Sesshomaru again, who seemed to have gotten angrier, if it was at all possible.
'Well, it's letting me through,' he said, throwing a leg over the lip of the well and sitting on the ledge. 'See?'
'I think—maybe the well thinks Sesshomaru should stay here,' Kagome added hesitantly, and he winced at the increased waves of fury that poured from his brother. 'If Inuyasha can get through but you can't—'
Inuyasha blinked as Sesshomaru made a quick gesture of dismissal, and then he was off the ledge and at his side in a flash. His brother was still faster than him, however, and had already unsheathed Bakusaiga.
'What're you doing?' Kagome asked, staring at the sword in horror.
'Dammit, isn't it obvious? He wants to blast the well down and see if he can open up a path to our world,' Inuyasha replied, grunting a little as he tried to wrestle the sword away from his still silent brother. 'Let go, you bastard,' he shouted finally, glaring at the youkai.
'You can't do that,' Kagome cried, moving forward until she stood protectively in front of the well, arms forming an ineffective shield. 'If you destroy the well neither Inuyasha nor I can get back! Naraku is still out there, remember?'
'You expect me to stay here?' Sesshomaru snarled, and Inuyasha saw her jump at his tone. 'In this world?'
'You have to,' she said softly, eyes glowing with determination. 'If the well has decided not to let you through, there's nothing you can do about it.'
Inuyasha staggered back at the sudden shove from his brother, and they both stared as Sesshomaru sheathed Bakusaiga again. He growled in frustrated rage, flexing his fingers as he glowered at the well. Inuyasha braced himself as his brother pinned them both with a glare, but found it unneccesary as Sesshomaru suddenly leaped into the sky, blowing a hole through the roof of the shrine in the process. Kagome screamed as bits of the roof rained down, and he pulled her down with him as he crouched protectively over her.
A moment later, when the debris seemed to have stopped falling, he drew away to look down into Kagome's stunned eyes. 'You alright?'
She nodded dazedly, and then looked up at the damage to her roof. 'But…where's he gone?'
Inuyasha shook his head as he looked up into the morning sky as well. 'Just be glad he's not here in the mood he's in.' He heaved a sigh as he stood, helping her up as well. 'I'll go after him. You stay here.'
'Wait! What about—'
Ignoring her, he leaped up and out of the hole in the roof, as well.
Kagome fumed as she limped around the house, setting a late lunch for her grandfather and herself. The first thing she'd done after Inuyasha had left had been to hurry inside and see how her grandfather was; she had rushed into his room only to see him snoring gently as he took his usual midmorning nap.
Shaking her head, she had backed out of the room and slid the door shut behind her. But when she was in the corridor again, she found herself blank. Her mother would be home only at seven, Souta at five; there was nothing she could do about the roof herself, so what next?
Which was why she was in the kitchen now, putting a dish in the microwave and setting the timer. She wiped her hands on a rag and looked around at the spotless kitchen, and felt her spirits sag as she remembered the mess in the wellhouse. It would take a lot of money to fix the roof, she wondered if they could afford it.
Not for the first time, she questioned the wisdom of letting Sesshomaru stay in the house. Perhaps it was time she told to him to leave. She huffed a quiet laugh, that was one conversation she could see going quite well.
She decided to sweep up the roof debris in the well house, it was the only thing she could do, so she would do it.
As she fetched a broom and a dustpan and began, her anger began to steadily climb. It was one thing when random, nameless youkai destroyed something in Sengoku Jidai, she was rarely part of the cleanup process there—usually they were called to hunt down said youkai and exterminate it, which they were quite good at, truth be told.
It was another thing entirely when youkai she knew—who were guests in her home—decided to destroy it whenever they felt like it.
She attacked a large piece of wood, sweeping it into her dustpan with quick, furious strokes. The least Inuyasha could have done was to stay behind and help her with this mess that his brother had caused, but no, he had to go off after that—
She clenched her teeth as her grip on the broom tightened. Inuyasha didn't know it yet, but he was in for the sitting of his life when he got back.
'Dammit, show yourself, you bastard!'
Inuyasha cursed to himself as he leaped to the rooftop of another building, trying to scent the wind and so figure out where his brother had gone. He had been searching for Sesshomaru for nearly half the day, he seemed to have just missed his brother by minutes each time. His stomach gave a rumble, and he scowled down at the street before him. Somewhere, someone was frying chicken, the scent drifting upto him was maddening; breakfast had been a long time ago, and he had missed lunch as well.
Making sure the timing was just right, he leaped down onto the street and back onto the opposite rooftop, the still hot piece of chicken meat clutched in his hand. He knew Kagome wouldn't like it if she found out he had stolen, so he decided not to tell her.
Besides, it was hard work trying to find Sesshomaru.
It didn't help that Kagome's world was full of all kinds of scents, each warring with the others for dominance. There was only a whiff of his brother's trail on the wind, and the further he got away, the more difficult it would be to follow him.
Of course, his brother was faster than him—always had been—but he had usually been able to keep up with him because it had been so easy to track him. He missed with a fierce ache the cleaner, purer air of his time, and he wondered suddenly if that was how Sesshomaru felt, too.
Atleast he had the option of going back. Sesshomaru was stuck here.
It was an uncomfortable feeling to have anything akin to pity or sympathy for his brother; youkai did not invite pity, if Sesshomaru were to know about it, he was sure to leave him gutted open on some rooftop.
He shook his head to clear away his distracting thoughts, and focused on his brother's scent again, closing his eyes to help him concentrate. He wouldn't have felt comfortable doing so back home, but in Kagome's world there seemed to be no youkai threat.
Which would be a problem for Sesshomaru, he was sure. His brother liked—hell, they both liked—to let out their anger by destroying things, preferably living youkai prey. There was an acute shortage of that here, so where would Sesshomaru go?
He opened his eyes and sniffed in that direction, and nodded to himself. Yes, Sesshomaru was there. And also—
His eyes widened, and he took off again, running faster than he had before, hoping he could catch up.
Five hundred years.
He had lost five hundred years of his life.
He could appreciate the irony in the situation. Inuyasha had been sealed for fifty years by a miko he had loved, while he himself had been sealed for five hundred years by another.
It seemed that Inuyoukai, as a rule, had bad luck with miko.
He should have known not to associate with the child, and yet…she had reminded him of so much of—
He cut off the thought with a snarl, leaping to a rooftop further up. His emotions were roiling through him, and for the first time in a long time, he felt agigated, and on edge. His claws lengthened, the desire to kill was ripping through him.
Something had to be done.
He had not sensed any other youkai here, which made things difficult. He had been searching for a sign of them all day, for a hint, a scent—something—but he had found absolutely nothing. He did not like the idea that he was the very last youkai in this world, but it seemed more and more likely that this was the case.
He looked out into the night, at the lights that were slowly flickering to life in the large dwellings around him. He stood on the highest point he could find in this village of humans, but still it was not high enough to escape the smells of the place. The miko's world was utterly foreign to him, and he longed to go back to his own time, but apparently it was forbidden.
Anger blazed through him again, and he clenched a fist tightly.
He could always spar with Inuyasha, but in this mood he might well do the hanyou some harm, and he couldn't allow that, not when Naraku still lived in his own time.
A scent came to him on the breeze, and his fangs lengthened as he smiled.
He broke off as he stared at the carnage around him. Already three wolves lay bloodied on the ground, their bodies ripped in half—Energy Whip, he realised—while the others cowered in a corner of their cage, whimpering and snarling.
Inuyasha shook his head. He had hoped he could get here in time to avoid this, but evidently he was too late. Well, better wolves than humans, he thought, as he stepped closer to his brother.
'Run!' Sesshomaru cried, as he raised his hand and cracked the Energy Whip at the wolf closest to him. 'Why won't you run, useless creature?'
The whimpering was getting on his nerves, and the blood was beginning to turn his stomach—wolves were kin to dogs, he remembered—but Sesshomaru seemed unaware of it, still cracking his whip like he was possessed. It was the first time he had seen such naked emotion on that face, and it made him shudder.
With a sigh, he made his way to the opposite side of the cage, where the wolves huddled and whined. Kagome would be beyond angry when she found out, but then she wasn't here to see the look in Sesshomaru's eyes.
The wolves tried to move away from him, obviously scenting that he was akin to the youkai currently terrorising them, and he took the opportunity to slash through the metal bars that kept them prisoner. He moved out of their way, and looked up to see that Sesshomaru had stopped, and was staring at him. He ducked his head, not wanting his brother to see the pity in his eyes, and snarled at the wolves when it seemed that they had frozen in their terror.
One of them was brave enough to make its way outside, and soon the whole pack was outside, all twelve of them running among the aisles that lay between each cage of animals. He remembered Kagome bringing him here once, she had called it a 'zoo', but it had turned his stomach to see all the animals being kept behind bars, and he had told her as such. She had replied that it was for their protection, and that he was obviously missing the point.
There was a movement before him, and he looked up to meet Sesshomaru's gaze. His brother looked down at him for a long moment, almost as if he was seeing him for the first time, and then he nodded once, taking off into the night after the wolves.
The scent of his brother's poison hit the air, and he gagged a little. He moved away from the destroyed cage and the smell of the dead wolves, and tried to think. He vaguely remembered Kagome telling him how this place worked, she had said something about guards…
He stiffened as he remembered that, and jumped to the top of the cage to look around fearfully. Sesshomaru wouldn't think much of killing a human guard if he had come upon one, and in turn, Kagome wouldn't think much of purifying him, if that had been the case. He moved from the top of one cage to another, hoping against hope…
He heaved a sigh of relief when he found the guard in a little room off to one side. The man was snoring at his seat, so evidently Sesshomaru had decided that he could remain inside; his brother had used his poison to melt the lock on the door. Inuyasha smirked to himself. Served the idiot right, for falling asleep on duty.
He peered a little closer into the room, intrigued by what he saw. There were many of those…boxes…like the one that Kagome had in her house, and they were all showing various views of the zoo. He jumped back in alarm when Sesshomaru suddenly appeared on one of them, easily ripping apart a wolf with his claws.
If he remembered right, that brat Souta had told him that the humans could watch those things at any time, so there was still a chance that Sesshomaru—and even he—would be seen tomorrow. He had to do something about this.
With a sigh, he rushed at the door, breaking it completely open. The man inside woke up with a shout, but before he could do much, he was behind him with an arm around his neck. He took care not to use all of his strength, and after a struggle, the man went limp in his grip. He hauled him outside, placing him up on top of the nearest cage. Next, he unsheathed Tessaiga, and then—
'Kaze no Kizu!'
He grinned in triumph once the dust had settled. The entire room was gone, there was no way the humans would find anything on either of them now. Very skillfull, he congratulated himself, as he sheathed the sword and looked around at the surroundings: nothing but the room itself had been destroyed.
It was then that Sesshomaru returned, looking much calmer and more like his usual self again. He surveyed the remains of the guard's room with disinterest, and then coolly took off into the night again.
Inuyasha stared after his brother's departing back incredulously before shaking his head.
'Keh. Ungrateful bastard.'
'Inuyasha! You gave me such a fright!'
Kagome jumped up from her chair, still clutching at her heart in fear.
'Where have you been all this time? Did you find Sesshomaru? Tell me he didn't do anything stupid.'
He looked at her defiantly, and her anxiety went up a notch as she groaned. 'He did, didn't he?'
'We'll talk about it in the morning, wench.'
He said nothing more, jumping off her window ledge and into the boughs of the Goshinboku outside, and she snarled frustratedly. She pointedly slammed the window shut, drawing the curtains closed with a huff. She was the one who had had to explain to her grandfather over lunch that the hole in the roof was just an accident and that Sesshomaru didn't need to be exorcised, she was the one who had had to repeat the story to her mother, and then see her strained smile as she had fretted silently about where she would get the money to rebuild it.
She angrily pulled the covers off her bed, deciding that she couldn't study in this mood. Besides, she doubted she'd be going to school the next day with all this going on at home, anyway. Which was another thing she could blame on Inuyasha and his brother.
If she ever saw another inuyoukai, she would purify it first and ask questions later.
With that last mutinous thought, she closed her eyes and went to sleep.
The next day, she kept the window firmly closed, and went down to breakfast still in a bad mood. Her temper was not improved when she caught the headlines of the daily newspaper: INVESTIGATION ON AS WOLVES FOUND KILLED IN ZOO.
She spread the paper open with rising alarm, and by the time she had read the article to its last word, her hands were in fists and her teeth were gritted. Souta and her mother sprang back as she jumped from the table, the newspaper a wadded bundle in her fist.
She went to the yard and slid the door open, staring up into the sky.
'Inuyasha! Sesshomaru! I have to speak to you! Now!'
Inuyasha came in ten minutes, but Sesshomaru made her wait for nearly fifteen more before he made an appearance. She knew he was making a point, and that she shouldn't let it upset her, but when he finally appeared, she had reached her breaking point.
'What is this?' she hissed, waving the newspaper under his nose.
He raised an eyebrow back at her, apparently unwilling to deign to answer her. It only made her angrier.
'You went out and killed all those wolves in the zoo last night, didn't you? And you helped him, I'm sure,' she snapped, glaring at Inuyasha, who winced. 'Admit it!'
'How could you, Inuyasha? They were helpless animals, they had no chance against you both…why did you do it?' she turned on Sesshomaru now, glaring at him. His continued silence made her reckless in her anger, and she stepped forward to prod him in the chest. 'Answer me!'
His hand was on her wrist faster than she could blink, and she cried out in alarm at the pain. 'Would you rather I had killed some humans for sport?' he snarled at her, and behind her, she heard Inuyasha draw Tessaiga.
'Let her go, Sesshomaru. I'm warning you!'
He did so with a jerk, and she stumbled back into Inuyasha's chest. 'If you wish to stop me, miko, find a way to send me home, if you can,' Sesshomaru sneered, and she blinked up at him. 'Until then, do not come in my way.'
Then he was gone again.
'He's serious, isn't he?' she asked, beginning to tremble. Inuyasha dropped a hand to her shoulder and turned her around to face him. 'Are you alright?' he asked worriedly.
'We have to find a way to send him home, Inuyasha,' she said softly in reply, and he nodded.
Damn that miko.
Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes as he stared out into the sky. The child had dared to rebuke him for his behaviour, when it was because of her brat that he was even in this predicament. If she had kept a tighter rein on her daughter, none of this would have happened, but she was as lax a mother as she was a miko.
He couldn't stay here, he thought for the hundredth time. There was nothing familiar to him here, everything he had ever known was gone. Granted, he was youkai, and the effects of the passage of time was not unfamiliar to him, but in every other instance he had been a part of those changes even as he had been above them—this time he had simply woken up to find the world had changed around him.
He had spent the day searching for signs of other youkai, he refused to believe that he was the last; then it would be truly unbearable if he were to find himself stuck here. There had to be other youkai here somewhere, perhaps they had hidden themselves among the humans, for some reason?
He frowned as he looked down at the scene before him. Even the trees were different, he mused unhappily. And the village…it turned his stomach, this panoply of scents and the cacophony of sounds that made up this strange dwelling place of humans.
No matter how high he went, it seemed he could not quite leave it behind, the smells and the sounds of this village coated him like a thick, clinging layer. He closed his eyes in disgust as the faint sound of a scream reached his ears. A human female, if his senses did not lie. A weak scent rose to his nose; blood had been spilt.
Ordinarily, he would not involve himself in the petty squabbles of humans, but the words of Inuyasha's miko were still ringing in his ear. So she didn't want him to hunt wolves, did she?
He would find the owner of that voice—more specifically, he would find those who hunted the owner of that voice, and then…
He would have some sport and slake his bloodlust, all at the same time.
With a fanged grin he leaped into the night.
She hurried down the street, glancing quickly behind her as she walked. Normally she would not walk down the street alone, it seemed full of shady corners that invited all sorts of morbid thoughts of thugs lying in wait, but she had had no choice.
She normally walked home with her colleague Kaho-chan, but her friend had unexpectedly fallen sick at work and had gone home early. Which left her all alone. It was a quiet neighbourhood, with large, expensive houses lining the street, which also meant that there were very few passersby on the road.
She heard a motorbike start behind her,and moved to one side of the road so that it might pass her. The engine idled for a moment, however, and she glanced back to see the two figures on it adjusting their helmets.
Dread climbed in her, and she quickened her pace. Her home was only a two minutes walk away, and she didn't care if she was being paranoid, but if that bike followed her she was going to run screaming all the way. Surely her father would still be awake and waiting for her.
She was nearly trotting now, but suddenly the motorcycle roared behind her, and the next thing she knew, she had been knocked to the ground.
As she blinked and shook her head, trying dazedly to get up, the helmeted man sitting behind the driver got off the bike and slapped her across the face. She let out a cry, but it was choked off when he produced a knife. He brandished it at her and tried to tug her purse from her, but the slap had dazed her and she clutched it tighter instead of letting it go.
'Let go, you bitch!'
He delivered another slap, trying to use the knife to cut the strap free, but in her confusion she had thought he was going to attack her, and had thrown up her arms. The knife left a long, deep gash in her felsh, and she cried out anew.
'Forget it, let's just go!'
Her assailant dealt her another ringing blow, and she fell back to the hard ground as she heard their footsteps pound away and the motorbike start again. She lay there, shivering and clutching at her bleeding arm, wondering how she was going to get home, when the air around her abruptly changed.
Sudden winds lashed her hair about her face, a deep voice boomed, and she heard the two thugs crying out in distress and fear. There was a thud, as if the motorbike had fallen to the ground, as if it had struck some immovable object and just stopped. The scent of blood hit her nose, and she choked down the rising bile in her throat. Whatever was happening, she had to get out of here.
She struggled to her feet, holding the torn edges of her arm with her other hand. Her vision was fading—too much blood loss, she realised—the wound had been deeper than she thought—and as she tried to take a few steps in the direction of her home, she saw what it was that had terrorised the two thugs so.
A figure in white, impossibly tall, with long, flowing hair—what looked like claws ripped through the chest of one of the men, but that couldn't be, she was mistaken, it was just the blood loss, no human being had claws—
She was crying now as she limped a few more steps, trying to get away from the strange figure who had just killed one of the thieves and was even now disembowelling the other. She tripped, her feet having become clumsy, and a moment later, she looked up, sensing movement above her.
Her head was swimming and her vision was fast fading, the second fall had taken a lot out of her—but she could've sworn the figure looked inhuman, and that his lips formed a word—
Golden yellow eyes were the last thing she saw.
A/N: I am in no way trying to suggest that cruelty to animals is acceptable, but you must remember that Sesshomaru is youkai, with a not too finely developed sense of empathy and compassion.
Secondly, it is entirely possible for a person to be robbed in the manner I have described—I speak from personal experience, though I was not attacked, thankfully—and again, I am in no way trying to suggest that crime is rampant in Japan.
Thank you very much for reading, all comment and concrit is very welcome. :)