Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha
Kagome jerked when a foot kicked her chair from behind. She raised her head from where it had been resting on her arm – just because it was comfortable – and rubbed her eyes, which had been sliding closed – just because she was resting them, of course. She yawned behind her hand, and tried to focus on the teacher rambling on at the front of the classroom. Her friends were making it their duty to ensure she paid attention during class, and seemed to even enjoy startling her awake.
The young miko sighed, and rubbed her temples to try relieve the headache that was starting up again. If it wasn't because she hadn't had enough sleep, it started up when a certain dog demon started yelling at her as soon as she decided to go home. Inuyasha just didn't understand that she couldn't take too much time off school and her other, real, life. He wanted her to stay in the rural era until all the shards of the sacred jewel – which she had broken, yes, but by mistake – were found. And because she was the only living one who could see the shards, he needed her.
If only that wasn't the only reason he needed me. She sighed to herself, sinking once again into thoughts of the infuriating, inconsiderate, inescapable half-demon who was her best friend and no more than that. Kagome loved Inuyasha. It was a fact, just as it was a fact that he loved someone else and she was too sweet and understanding not to forgive him for it.
Kagome groaned aloud just thinking about all of it, and then jerked her head up to see the whole class and the teacher staring at her with concern. She blushed bright pink, and coughed to hide her acute embarrassment.
"Is everything alright, Kagome?" the teacher asked her, and she nodded quickly.
"Just a headache," she replied softly, hoping that the half-truth would lessen her guilt. "Please, I'm alright." Kagome tried to assure him, feeling bad because he looked so earnest. All the teachers looked at her with some pity because of her frequent 'illnesses'. In their eyes, she was an unfortunate child who worked hard to try to make up for her poor health.
It didn't help that her grandfather found the most exotic diseases possible for her either. She could just be thankful that he hadn't managed to diagnose her with an STD just yet.
To her relief, the class continued. She kept her head down, avoiding the curious and sympathetic glances thrown her way occasionally. It was horrible, having to lie to her friends all the time, especially for someone like her. It went against her personality and beliefs, but there was nothing else she could do. It's not like I can say: 'I travel 500 years back in time and fight demons – only bad ones – to help my friend, Inuyasha – who is a dog half-demon, by the way, but really cute and mostly good-hearted – to put back together this sacred jewel I shattered by accident that will grant any wish, good or evil. Oh, by the way, I really am a miko and have powers that mean I can destroy bad demons with my sacred arrows.' No. I don't think they'd understand.
The rest of the day passed with Kagome trying her hardest to pay attention to her classes and fob off the hundreds of questions about her health and well-being. Honestly, who knew lying could be so tiring?
When the last class ended, Kagome was exhausted. She'd only been back from the feudal era for two days, and was due back in another four unless Inuyasha came early to fetch her which was more than likely. A week was a lot to ask from the stubborn hanyou. She lay her head on her arms and rested for a moment ... because a moment was all she was going to get.
She was instantly surrounded by her school friends, but she could only smile as they gathered around her with their constant chatter. She was used to being interrogated about her well-being and love life, and even though it could be tiring she enjoyed pretending that she was normal for once.
The miko walked with her friends through the school corridors and outside towards the gate. But when Kagome heard them gasp collectively and quickly move away from her, she guiltily felt like running for it. Wait for it ... wait for it ...
The girl turned around slowly, hoping that the person would have vanished, but ...
"Hojo." She couldn't help her sigh as she looked at his sweet, earnest, concerned and highly unwelcome face.
"How are you feeling?" Hojo asked, completely oblivious to her friends who were staring at them and giggling excitedly. "I was so sorry to hear that you weren't feeling well during your lessons this morning, so I hope you don't mind that I went and got you some special homoeopathic headache pills over lunch time. They're guaranteed to help you and keep your metabolism healthy!"
He held out his hand with the bottle of pills. Kagome took them from him reluctantly, hoping that they weren't like the last batch of homoeopathic pills he'd found her. Those had smelled like ground-up frogs, and she hadn't had the guts to even touch them.
She stuffed the brown bottle in her pocket, and bowed slightly. "Thank you, Hojo. I'm sure they will help and I appreciate your concern." Kagome saw that he was about to speak, and to cut off any offers of dates she dazzled him with a huge smile. "I'll see you soon!" she said brightly, and ran off to her friends while he was too stunned by her enthusiasm to reply.
"What did you say?"
"Did he ask you out? Did he?"
The three girls surrounded her, brimming with expectation. "WELL?!"
Kagome grinned sheepishly. "Well ..."
"Oh, Kagome! You didn't turn him down again!" cried Eri. There was a collective groan from all of them as her guilty face gave her away. "He's the nicest boy in school, remember? He-"
Kagome tuned out the rest of her friend's sentence. She'd heard all about Hojo's amazing qualities, and he was a nice guy, but ... She sighed. He just doesn't compare. He's just so ... so ... so normal. Maybe if I hadn't been to the Feudal Era, and met Miroku, Kouga, and Inuyasha. Because in comparison to them, he's just normal.
She gave an absent wave when her friends went their separate directions home, because she was still submersed in her thoughts.
I thought I wanted normal ... but do I? Sometimes its scary, sometimes sad and tragic, and I've seen so many horrible things and been so hurt by Inuyasha but ... Images of her friends, of the people they had saved, flashed through her mind. Images of bathing with Sango, laughing about the smallest thing. Of holding Shippo in her arms, scolding Miroku for his womanising, or flying on Kirara. Sitting on a riverbank with Inuyasha ...
She loved them all. She-
"Oomph!" She hit something hard, and fell backwards. Something scattered around her feet as her bottle fell out of her pocket. Kagome looked up, startled, to see that she had run into a man. The things on the sidewalk were little brown bottles, almost identical to hers.
She reached out and picked her bottle up, and started to apologise profusely as she picked up the man's bottles as well.
"I'm so, so sorry!" she repeated her apology, handing them to him.
The man snatched the bottles from her, stuffing them in his coat pockets. "Stupid girl!" he snarled, "You should watch where you're going!"
"I said sorry!" she replied, taken aback by his venom.
He didn't answer her, and after picking up the last of the bottles he walked off stiffly past her. She could hear him cursing under his breath as he tightened his black coat around him.
"Huh!" Kagome grumbled. "Some people are so rude!" She shrugged the incident off and continued her walk home.
"Mom! I'm home!" Kagome called when she walked in the door. "Are we having oden for supper?"
It was a beautiful day. The wind whispered through the leaves of the trees, stirring the branches which sighed softly. Water bubbled cheerfully in a nearby stream, and sunlight glinted off its surface like a multitude of stars. The sun shone brightly, and it was truly an amazing summer day.
White ears twitched towards the direction of an old wooden well, but there were no movements or sounds coming from it – only those made by the wind. A leg jumped up and down restlessly, and a sharp claw tapped the bark of the tree beneath it.
"Keh! Where the hell is that blasted wench?!" Inuyasha growled impatiently. He didn't care about the season or weather – there were far too many other important things to concentrate on. Primarily, his absent shard-detector.
The hanyou's ears folded back for a moment, as he imagined Kagome's reaction to hearing that description of her. It sure wouldn't have been pretty, and would most likely involve a lot of pain, experienced by him. She sure can be scary when she's angry ... not that I care! he added to himself sharply. It doesn't mean anything to me. Yet as much as he denied it, he did care about Kagome. Just, maybe, not the way she hoped. Or not enough.
Sure enough, Inuyasha jerked around away from the magic well that he had been staring at, waiting for Kagome to return. He thought that he had smelled another priestess, and one he had such history with. Kikyo ... Inuyasha closed his eyes in frustration when he realised that the smell had not been hers. When Kikyo called, Inuyasha would go ... no matter how much it hurt Kagome. Perhaps that was answer enough, but it didn't mean that he was willing to let her go either.
Kagome ... Kikyo ...
The hanyou looked up when he heard her soft voice, a moment before her scent reached him. So sweet ... He had to stop himself from giving a slight smile when the miko from the future pulled herself out of the well. Her smile as she looked at him made him feel so strange – a kind of contentment that he wasn't accustomed to. As usual when his feelings lead him to some unexplored place, he responded with sarcasm and scorn.
"You're late, wench! What the fuck have you been doing-"
The word was enough to bring him flying out of the tree and slamming into the ground, but Kagome didn't lose her smile. Instead, she hauled a huge bag from out of the well behind her. She saw his nose twitch as he pulled himself out of the hole his fall had created.
"That's right," she said, her grin slightly evil, "You don't have to have any of the special snacks I brought back with me. I'm sure Shippo would love your share ... or maybe Kouga-"
That was enough to rouse the dog demon. Inuyasha leapt up, spluttering and growling at the mention of the wolf demon who was so enamoured with Kagome. His Kagome.
Kagome smiled, and started to walk down to the village with the raving hanyou. Soon she would see the rest of her friends. She glanced sidelong at Inuyasha's sulky face, and suppressed a laugh that would only provoke him more.
Oh, she sighed happily to herself, I've missed this place. Only a week, but I'm happy to be back. The small bottle of shards around her neck bounced against her as she walked lightly down the path, shining with the purity of her soul.
The small image of the miko walking down the path with her hanyou faded into blank nothingness, and Naraku was left with the image of his own face in the small mirror. He narrowed his crimson eyes, and waved the void girl Kanna and her mirror away. He rested his chin on his hand, tapping his finger lightly against his lower lip as his thoughts revolved around the strange girl, Kagome. The reincarnation of Kikyo, who was the ultimate cause for his existence as Naraku.
His foolish human heart did not trouble him about Kagome like it did with Kikyo, but she was an enigma and she intrigued him more than the dead priestess did. In the beginning, she was merely a nuisance – standing in the way of his twisted plans for Inuyasha and Kikyo that would darken the jewel with the power of their hatred. But since then ... her large soul, her affinity with the Shikon no Tama, and her position as a rallying point for her friends had drawn his attention to her more and more. He did not think that she had drawn on all of the powers that were available to her, and if it were not for her seeming incorruptibility he would have put her to use already. She was too pure. So pure that it galled him that she existed – that she resisted so well.
But I will have my chance. Perhaps I should increase the pressure a little. Naraku smirked as the image of the innocent miko lingered in his mind's eye. Her friends cannot protect her forever. She will make a mistake, and when she does ... I will be there, waiting.
She won't be much use to them broken.
Kagome smiled, cuddling Shippo to her chest as she watched the fire throw golden sparks into the air. It was nights like this, when she was surrounded by her friends, sitting with a warm glow against her face and contentedly full from supper, that she missed in her own time. There was nothing else quite like it, especially after a long day of travelling and fighting. She glanced up at the nearby tree, where Inuyasha was sitting up in the branches keeping watch over his little pack. His eyes were closed, his arms folded into the sleeves of the fire-rat clothing. He looked so peaceful, so handsome.
The miko scowled at herself. Just don't go there, and things will be easier. Kagome rubbed her temples, feeling a headache building up again. She sighed heavily, trying to remember if she'd brought any headache pills in her medical kit.
Kagome laid the sleeping Kitsune aside, and smiled when he grumbled and turned over. So sweet. She started to rustled through her backpack, searching for the bottle of headache tablets. Her fingers closed around something likely, but when she pulled it out and examined it in the firelight, it was a plain brown bottle with no markings, and a number of small pills inside.
What ... oh, I remember, these are the pills Hojo gave me. The homoeopathic pills ... I wonder if they're safe? She took off the cap and smelled them warily, but there was a distinct lack of vile toad-flavoured odour. In fact, they didn't smell much of anything – slightly sweet, maybe. Hmm ... should I, shouldn't I, should I, shouldn't I ... She pictured Hojo's earnest face, and shrugged in resignation. Might as well try them, then at least I won't have to lie about it.
She swallowed one pill before she could think too long about it, reckoning that one would be safe either way. Besides, what's the worst that could happen? She reasoned with herself, laying down in her sleeping bag and cuddling Shippo as she closed her eyes for sleep. Her head was still pounding, but she was used to sleeping in poor conditions and her eyes soon closed.
In the tree a small distance away, golden eyes watched her every movement. Inuyasha's ears twitched as he listened to her soft sigh as she slipped into sleep. Kagome ... Now his whole band was sleeping, and he could rest as well. He always kept one ear open, of course. The humans' senses were too limited to notice if something came into their camp, so it was up to him to keep watch. The hanyou knew too well how limited human senses were, and he hated thinking of it. The times of the full moon, when his world shrank incomprehensibly into that of a normal human. When he lost the world of sights and scents, of perceptions greater than Kagome could imagine. She couldn't understand. But she tries.
He huffed softly, and shifted his body, settling himself against the firm bark of the old tree. Inuyasha let his eyes slide shut, enjoying the peaceful quiet that settled over the forest around them. It was a fuller quiet with Kagome back, and his instincts had calmed at the return of what was, to his inu side, an integral member of his pack.
Quiet, so quiet ... Too quiet. It was barely an hour after Kagome had fallen alseep that she was woken roughly by Inuyasha.
"Kagome! Wake up!" the hanyou growled.
"A little longer ..." the miko mumbled, turning over.
"Wench!" Inuyasha shouted, shaking her until she met his eyes. "Do you sense a jewel shard?!"
Kagome stared at him, confused as her mind tried to catch up to his words. But when she realised what he said, and his urgency, she concentrated on that part of her that had a connection with the jewel shards – that part of her that she barely understood.
When she activated her miko senses, the shards around her throat seemed to burst into small, incandescent suns. Kagome gasped, and shaded her eyes against the glow that lit up the area around her and caused a flame to grow inside, warming and burning her.
"Kagome!" Sango cried, seeing her strong reaction but not the source of it.
Miroku frowned as he watched the miko, feeling the glow of the Shikon that Sango couldn't.
"Well?!" Inuyasha demanded, "Is there another shard nearby?" He was oblivious to Kagome's discomfort because there was a strange aura that held his complete attention. And the smell ...
"Naraku!" the hanyou snarled, identifying the vile stench of miasma that only Naraku carried around him.
"No, no other shards." Kagome spoke at last, having stretched her senses past the blinding presence of the shards around her neck. I have never felt them that strongly ... she thought to herself, but even her thoughts felt strange – different somehow. Even her body felt different.
"Quickly!" Inuyasha snapped, and Kagome climbed on to his back. She had barely got a firm grip when he took off with a huge lightning-fast leap. There were two presences ahead, but as they neared the second presence moved off. Inuyasha quickened his pace, and landed in a dark clearing just in time to see Kagura fly off into the distance on one of her feathers. But still there, facing them, was the villain in his baboon-suit. Naraku.
Kagome stumbled as she got off Inuyasha's back, hearing the others land on Kirara just behind them. Her head was spinning, and her body tingled from the feeling of flying through the air. She stared for a moment, fixated, at Inuyasha's ears, with an almost overwhelming urge to touch them taking over her. The colour of his fire-rat clothes seemed brighter somehow.
"Naraku!" Inuyasha spat, pulling his Tetsusaiga from its sheath. Kagome's eyes followed the glowing blade, and she wondered what the fur above the grip felt like. It made her think of Sesshomaru, and the pelt he carried over one shoulder. I wonder what that is, anyway? So soft ...
"Here to disturb my business as usual, Inuyasha?" Naraku's voice came from behind the mask. His voice ... its like dark velvet, Kagome thought vaguely.
"Bastard!" the inu shouted, "I'll show you disturbing!"
"Inuyasha," Miroku said warningly, "It's probably just a puppet."
Kagome turned her eyes to the baboon-cloaked figure. Something inside her burned as her miko powers activated again. She could see a clear outline of a wooden doll inside the chest of the creature, confirming that it was a puppet. But she had never seen so clearly before ...
"The wooden outline is inside it's chest." she said in a strange, detached voice, and then laughed softly without being able to stop herself.
"Kagome, are you alright?" Shippo called anxiously from behind Sango.
"Pull yourself together, wench!" Inuyasha ordered sharply. He leapt aside as tentacles burst from beneath the baboon pelt and crashed into the ground where he had been standing. A flash of the great blade cut off tentacle after tentacle, but more replaced those lost.
"Hiraikotsu!" Sango shouted, throwing her heavy weapon with deadly accuracy. The puppet dodged aside just in time to avoid it, and again to dodge Miroku's blows. It was a tougher puppet than they had faced before, but it wasn't really any match for them.
"Wind Scar!" Inuyasha slammed his blade into the ground, sending the attack straight for the puppet and incinerating it instantly. The inu grinned ferociously, and it was only a soft gasp that made him turn his head around to look at the young girl from the future.
Kagome's eyes were wide as she stared at the spot where Inuyasha's Wind Scar had been released.
"Kagome?" he asked hesitantly, unsure at her strange expression.
The miko shook her head and smiled at him, feeling more like herself. "Oh, nothing Inuyasha. I just thought the light of your Wind Scar looked pretty."
"Pretty?!" he shouted, angry that she would demean his technique.
She waved her hand at him dismissively, and turned back towards their camp. "Anyway, I'm feeling tired. Can we go back now?"
Inuyasha glared at the female, feeling infuriated by her dismissal, but he let the anger go when he saw her sway slightly. "Stupid weak human," he settled for muttering under his breath, softly enough that she didn't hear him.
"Why do you think Naraku's puppet was out here?" Sango asked Miroku as they followed behind the other two.
"Perhaps he was giving Kagura some new instructions," the monk replied soberly. "Whatever the reason, it can't mean anything good." He stared at the miko's back for a while, frowning in thought and Sango noticed the direction of his gaze.
"Are you worried about Kagome?" she asked him quietly. "She was acting slightly ... strange."
Miroku stared seriously at Kagome's back for a few moments longer, before his eyes inevitably slipped lower. "Hmm."
The demon exterminator didn't take long to notice that the object of his attention had changed. "Hiraikotsu!" she shouted, slamming her weapon into the thick monk's skull. "You pervert!"
Miroku made no reply in his defence ... most probably because he wouldn't be able to speak in coherent sentences for a number of hours longer.
Kagome stared at the bottle of pills for what must have been the hundredth time. Since their encounter with Naraku's puppet, she couldn't stop thinking about how she had felt during the attack. She had never been so in touch with her miko powers, and she had an idea that the small white tablets in her hand were the reason. And my headache was gone too. So are they just headache pills? Why do I think that they are something more? Perhaps it was the strange emotions that had overtaken her that was making her wary. Sango had quietly taken her aside after Inuyasha had killed the puppet to check that she was alright, and even Shippo had clung closer to her that night.
Inuyasha, as usual, was completely oblivious.
Maybe what was most worrying was how badly she hoped that they actually would help enhance her miko powers.
Kagome was no fool, and she certainly wasn't stupid. She wasn't from this feudal era where women like Sango were the exception, and most were helpless and hid behind their men. If Kagome hated anything, it was being helpless or a burden on those around her. She hated it when she gave Inuyasha reason to save her from her own mistakes.
So the girl from the future took a deep breath, and swallowed another pill.
A/N: This story has been demanding to be written for a while, and I've resisted as much as I could because there are so many great SessXKags fics out there that I wasn't sure mine would measure up, but ... well ... here it is :) Don't expect them to jump each other right away, or even really soon. I think Sesshomaru needs to thaw out a bit. He's a bit calmer in this fic – I'm blaming Rin for that ;) He'll appear in the next chapter – yay! I have no knowledge of Japan or the proper use of the language so I won't use it very much, and please excuse any mistakes. I hope you'll enjoy this for what it is – an easy-going bit of entertainment, written for my enjoyment and hopefully for yours.
Additional note: I have no experience with drugs and this is not based on reality at all. Purely fictional in all aspects!