(I couldn't get this story out of my head. So I wrote down the first chapter. Enjoy. Also, I do not own Inuyasha. Ivy)
She was tired, that was all there was to it. The day had begun earlier than she'd liked and ended later than she expected and she was just simply tired. She closed her laptop and looked over to the two girls lounging on the overstuffed, entirely comfortable sofa. The youngest was laying backwards with her head and hair dangling off the ledge of the seat with her feet propped onto the back while the eldest of them laid with her head on the youngest girl's stomach atop a pillow. Their eyes were closed as they waited for the telltale clicking of the screen latch of her computer to signal the completion of another day's worth of work.
Rin's eyes flashed open and onto Kagome when the computer closed. She was slightly dizzy from the rush of blood to her head from her position while awaiting Kagome finishing her final few lines of code. She looked at the exhausted form of her dear and old friend from her up-side-down vantage point and smirked that Kagome's scowl didn't even look like a smile from where she was. "We need to get the hell out of here. We need air and people and music."
Kagome sighed and set her computer to the side as Rin and Sango sat up properly on the couch to wait for their friend's response. It took slightly longer than they had expected to receive it. "Do you think she'd mind? Being left alone for a few hours, I mean?"
"She's been telling us to go out every night since we moved in here. We've been here for five weeks, Kagome, and the only time any of us ever leaves this house is to get groceries. We didn't come here to hide, Mei-mei. We came here to live and help her live too. Right now all we're doing is enabling her by helping her hide." Sango said with conviction, noticing how deep Kagome's scowl had set. "Maybe if we go, leave her really alone for a while, she'll want to come out with us and stop being so afraid."
"Phobias don't work that way and you know it, San." Kagome retorted with a bit more of a keen edge to her tone than she'd intended. "I'm sorry…"
"Don't be." Rin replied softly with an understanding smile. "We've all become a bit more snappish of late. But… Kagome, you know it isn't a phobia. It's not an irrational fear without any explanation. Maybe if we prove to her that she doesn't have to be afraid, she will find a way to face her fear and fight it back."
"You just want to go clubbing."
"Hell. Yes." Rin replied to Kagome's words with a sharpness of her own. "We all love her, Kagome. We grew up together. We were raised like sisters. Hell, we even think the same way, but there are reasons beyond me just wanting to go out and party that I'm saying this. You're cranky. You're mean. You're no fun to live with and neither am I and neither is Sango and I'm sure it's got to be wearing on Chora. Now, the three of us are going to go to our rooms, take showers, brush our teeth and, instead of throwing on another set of pjs, we're going to get dressed up and go out and have some fun or else one of the three of us is going to go bug-fuck and I can promise you that won't be good for Chora cause we dropped our lives to come here, far the fuck away from the past, so she could pull herself back together with the people she loves beside her."
"Are you finished, Mei-mei?" Kagome asked, fighting to suppress the sharp sound of her laughter that was bubbling to the surface. Rin was such an angel. She was their baby sister and hardly ever cursed. Even when it was more than appropriate to do so.
Rin huffed. "Yes. Are we going, cause if we are, I'd like to T-Vo some of my shows."
Kagome stood and laughed low in her chest, shaking her head. "Let's go. After that little display, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to say no."
The music was always too loud. There were always too many people. There was never, ever enough alcohol to dull out the throng's scent and sound. And yet, here he was again sitting in the VIP box looking down at a mass of humanity, hanyou and youkai of one race or another grinding together in a motion that was more like a hideous orgy of flesh than dancing and moving with the beat of a no-name group's music who were performing aimlessly on the stage. Nothing worth his attention, unfortunately. Unfortunate because he, once again, had allowed his friends to drag him from his quiet, though, unfortunately, very rarely private, townhouse to listen to the group's sound. They'd all heard many good things about them, including him, and so they had decided on a night of scouting talent as opposed to a quiet night of poker, drinks, and, perhaps, a few films that hadn't yet been released in theaters that Shippo and his brother would bring from the studio once it was finished in the editing room.
He sighed and shook his head before, once again, slipping the plugs into his ears that he wore to such places to stifle sound from his very sensitive hearing. They were very nearly invisible once he had them placed and came in handy if the sound of the group was in any way displeasing to him. He hadn't found anything he'd liked in the sets they'd played and, from the lack of precision, he knew that it wasn't just an off night. Sadly, this wasn't the first time he or his companions had been misled by rumors of a group's talent and skill. Even more horrible, it wouldn't be the last.
Inuyasha watched from his seat as his brother again shielded his delicate hearing from the din of the crowd and horrid band. He shook his head. "Such a waste. Could have been home rather than listening to this shit."
"Hn." He replied before looking back to the four men who sat near him. Shippo had his earphones in and was drowning out most of the din with white noise as he worked on his laptop on one thing or another while Miroku sat with a script and a red pen in his hand, scribbling and slashing at the dialogue with his director's notes. Near him, swirling his cognac stood Kouga. The ookami had not removed his earplugs the whole of the night, but then, he did not have the kind of appreciation for music Sesshomaru did. If it had a beat, he didn't care. His talent came with public relations. He was a 'people person' and one that Sesshomaru found he could not function without. In general, the inu's senses were so blindingly, painfully sharp that most he came across were so hideous in one way or another that he found himself insulting them one way or another as he pulled away from them.
Speak of the devil. "Let us up there! We have standing invitations!" Kagura's voice was sharp and painful even through the shielding to his eardrums. She was a beautiful woman, there was no question. All of her friends were as well, but there was something to their scent and the incriminatingly pompous and self-serving tone to their all-together unmusical voices that set him on edge. With the exception, of course, of Ayame, Kouga's intended. She was not beautiful by Sesshomaru's standards. Nor was she particularly pure in her scent, nor was her voice all together pleasant, she was humble and gracious and, like the whole of those he chose to surround himself with, she respected his personal space.
He winced. Inuyasha's brow raised slightly as he noted the flash of expression on Sesshomaru's face and he walked to the entrance of the VIP box. Sesshomaru, while only his half brother and most certainly the most conceited asshole on the face of the planet, was still his friend and his business partner. When they were younger, they had fought, but both had found a grudging respect for the other's strengths as well as their weaknesses. He met the eyes of the guard and made a cutting gesture across his throat to which the two ookami guards nodded and looked back to the raven-haired woman before him.
The door to the upper box closed silently and Ginta and Hakkaku leered down at Kagura, Kanna, Kikyo and Tsubaki with unflinching eyes. Ayame was standing behind them with her eyes cast down to the floor. She hated it when her friends, or so-called friends, tried to use her to get to Kouga's friends and business partners. They always did, even when she begged them to just let it go and find someone else.
"Ayame has a standing invitation, not the four of you. She may go up. You four may stay down here and entertain yourselves some other way." Ginta said with a faint snarl.
Hakkaku reached out and touched Ayame's shoulder. She looked up and met his gaze before nodding and ascending the stairs to the VIP box. She opened the door quietly and slipped in quickly before too much of the screeching din could slip into the more quiet confined of the box. She nodded to Inuyasha who was shaking his head. "I'm sorry for them. I tried to tell them to leave it lie, Yash."
He waved his hand in dismissal before he sat again and turned his attentions back to his brother who was leaning his head back in the chair, rubbing his temples. "I got some of that stuff Jinenji makes up for your headaches."
Sesshomaru put out his hand after a moment of battling himself internally. The headache had been creeping into the forefront for nearly an hour and was hinting at its presence even before they had decided to leave the townhouse to come to the club. It was simply aggravated by Kagura's shrill voice. He felt Inuyasha place three of the hand filled capsules in his hand and then downed them in one swallow with a sip of soda water. He closed his eyes and simply waited for it to fade back. His senses were so keen that he was subject to frequent migraines and headaches. Usually they were triggered by one thing or another, however, every few months he would go into a sensory overload. Tonight the two causes were compounded. After a few moments the panging ache in his head had fallen back to a dull throb that he could tolerate. Slowly he opened his eyes and smirked mirthlessly. He just wanted to be left alone or at least in the presence of those who didn't overwhelm him and were mildly pleasant to be near. He'd given up on love long before.
Those he kept nearest him, who, on one level or another, soothed him, he called his pack. His brother's scent was enough his own and his father's that Inuyasha's mere presence in his home brought him some relief. The musk of Shippo's scent was so akin to the forest that he found easy repose around the kitsune. Kouga's scent was much the same for him as it was kissed with the scents of everything wild. And then there was Miroku. The man was a lecherous bastard of the worse sort, but he was fastidious to the point of what some might see as insanity. For Sesshomaru it meant that there was at least one human he could be near without being overcome with their gradually progressing mortality. Ayame, again, was tolerable. She carried only Kouga's distinct scent on her, marking her as his and so, even though he would have never considered her as a possible mate or even lover, he could stand her presence in his inner circle.
It was his curse to be the way he was. Most full-blooded youkai, though there were very few, did not suffer as he suffered. They had adapted and, in truth, their senses were not as sharp as his. He had been born in the late eighteen hundreds frail and sickly. His parents had not been close relations. They were tenth cousins, as the humans would have counted. His mother had barely survived the birth and had been left with a son who might not live. It took several months to diagnose his condition and then, when it was discovered, it was nothing that could be remedied. Only controlled. Most genetic disorders were that way. His mother and father had been in love, he had been told, but their love could not withstand the pain of realization that they had damned their son to such a painful life. His mother took it harder than his father. She had willed herself to death shortly before his second birthday and Sesshomaru had been left to a life of wondering if she had ever really loved him or his father at all. More than anything, he understood the frailty of love and that it was highly unlikely any female would be able to tolerate his malady, let alone find it in her heart to love him forever. Love did not last. It was a passing biological inclination as far as he understood it. The only thing that lasted was blood.
Inuyasha had been born between the mortal woman, Izayoi, and his father five years after Sesshomaru's mother had died. The boy was strong, powerful and healthy with the mixed blood of human and youkai. He'd hated his brother for a long time. He'd despised his perfection in his imperfect blood. It was when they were still only just boys that they had realized their true strengths as well as their true weakness. A sudden storm. Two boys lost in an unfamiliar forest. Had either of them been alone, they would have died. They learned to respect each other and, in time, to love each other as brothers and as blood.
"Would you like to go back, Maru?" He watched his brother's faint expressions for his answer closely. He was always so controlled. He had to be or he would be constantly reacting to every piece of information his overly acute senses were sending him.
He had almost answered with affirmation to Inuyasha's query when the softest scent touched his nose. Three scents, really, with the shadow of a fourth. His eyes diverted from the interior of the box and searched for the origin of the scent with a sharp need to place it. Pressed jasmine flowers, raven feathers, rich, silty earth and then… The scent of another. Faint and pure… A scent he'd only had the pleasure of once before far out of the city's reach. Pure, clean air.
The club was loud, crowded and dark with its industrial-gothic theme. She sighed inwardly and looked toward Rin who was bouncing happily beside her dressed in a pale pink slip-dress and combat boots. Sango, dressed in a dark tailored brown suit vest and matching pants with a white dress shirt unbuttoned to where the vest of her suit enclosed, exposing a tantalizing amount of skin, was standing at her other side as they made their way to the bar. Kagome leaned her back against the railing of the industrial steel bar lightly as Sango ordered their drinks, none of which contained alcohol. There wasn't a point to buying drinks and becoming intoxicated in the club when they could easily get drunk at home. They weren't there to drink, in any case. They were there to move and to let go.
She let her fingers slide down over the heavily embroidered, cobalt blue corset that was holding her in and up so perfectly. Gauzy, flowing sleeves from her undershirt flowed around her wrists that were covered with black leather, buckled bands that matched her pants made of leather, buckles and thick cobalt silk accentuating the legs as they belled over her steel toed combat boots. She sighed and shook her head slightly as she asked herself, once more, how she had been convinced to leave Chora behind.
Sango smirked at the questioning gaze of the bartender as he handed the three Italian sodas to her and she, in turn, passed each flavored drink to its matching drinker. She sipped hers slowly as she scanned the crowd. "The band isn't all that hot."
"No." Kagome replied. The hairs on the back of her neck were standing up. Someone was watching her. She turned her eyes to where she felt the watcher might be in such a way that she was looking out of the corner of her gaze. Covertly she met golden, inquisitive eyes owned by a shadowy figure in the VIP box and smiled a real smile as she finished her drink. I'll give you something to watch. She murmured to herself and looked to Rin and Sango. "Ready?"
Rin's eyes lit up and Sango laughed. "Just waiting for you to decide to get off your ass, Mei-mei."
"Then let's go, San." She laughed and grabbed Rin and Sango's hands as she dragged them onto the dance floor. It was clearing, as the band onstage broke into a cover song that they performed infinitely better than their own music but dismally compared to the real artist.
Rin felt her heart pang slightly and noticed the shift in Sango and Kagome's stance. Oh, Chora… She steeled herself and gripped her dear friend's hand before releasing and beginning to move. When their eyes met hers, she nodded sharply and smiled sadly, trembling as her two sisters in all but blood smiled in return and began to move.
When they were children, the four girls would pull out their parents' old records and to play. As soon as the needle dipped and the table turned, the four would fall into a kind of trance. They moved together as one being as they danced and spun and twirled and dipped. They never needed partners. They had each other and their parents mused that, somewhere, a Parthenon of gods were regretting letting their muses free onto the earth. Rin, muse of art. Sango, muse of architecture. Kagome, muse of history. Chora, muse of music.
Only three, they moved in the same tandem, however there was a shadow among them. They were incomplete and they knew it, felt it, and understood it even though most, if not all, of the stunned crowd would ever be able to see where another should have been. Men looked on in desire while women looked on in jealousy. They knew. They felt it. They didn't care. They hadn't come to steal other women's men from them. They couldn't have cared less. They'd come to move, to be free and let go for only a short while before they returned to their sanctuary.
But Kagome had one other motive. She was giving one certain observer an eyeful of exactly what she promised herself he'd never have. As the song came to a close, she spun and met his golden gaze with her illuminated, pure, crystal blue eyes caught in a fierce look. "It isn't polite to stare." She breathed, but she knew he could hear her. Every full-blooded demon could, even in the crowded club, and she was utterly certain he was one.
The crowd began to applaud. They didn't bow. Rin and Sango looked to Kagome who was still holding the gaze of someone in the VIP box. "Mei-mei…"
Kagome blinked and looked to Sango with a sad smile. Rin took her hand and she nodded. "We should go home, San."
The three women walked to the entrance of the club. They ignored the words of men directed at them, napkins with numbers quickly jotted into the corner, everything including the sharp glares of four very angry women from the shadows below the VIP box. They'd had their fun and now it was time to go back to their sister who was still curled up under her comforter in her pajamas.
He blinked and watched as the woman with the startling eyes and pure, beautiful scent exited the club with her two… Sisters? Their scents were so different from each other they certainly were not related by any stretch of the imagination. Even her voice at a whisper promised to hold the kind of timbre that he would define as beautiful once he could hear it without the din of the club marring it.
"She was talking to you, you know." Kouga said with a faint smile touching his lips. "And you were staring."
"She is sad… Lost." He breathed, saying more in that moment than he had in the whole of the day. He felt his brother's eyes on him and turned his gaze to meet the mirrored gold.
Inuyasha nodded and nudged Shippo who was studying Sesshomaru in an intense way that was foreign to the kitsune. He hadn't removed the ear buds from his ears, but he'd heard Sesshomaru's words through the white noise. He looked to Inuyasha and nodded faintly. "I'll try to figure out who they were… She had been addressed as Mei-mei… That's Chinese for 'little sister,' I believe, so that wouldn't be her name… She called the other girl San… Have Ginta go and retrieve the digital listing of all Ids scanned at the door and I'll search through them."
"Any particular reason we're going through the trouble of looking those women up? Maru, they were lovely, no doubt about it, but they…" He silenced at the look Sesshomaru gave him. Miroku raised a brow and smiled crookedly. "What was it about her? You don't usually take any interest in anyone: youkai, hanyou or human."
"Apparently everything." Inuyasha said softly and noticed the faint quirking of his brother's lips in a barely suppressed smile. He met Sesshomaru's gaze and nodded. "We'll find her."
"I only want to know why she is so sad, Brother." He breathed with an unwavering gaze. "Who it is they are missing… That she is without."
Kouga's brow raised slightly and studied the inuyoukai across from him. "What do you mean?"
He looked down and scowled in an attempt to explain himself. He hated explaining himself or ever having to ask for anything. "There was a shadow scent among them… One who is always near normally, but who was absent tonight. Her absence made them sad… And when they moved together, it was as if one was missing." He sat back slightly and ran his hands through his long, silver hair. The pain in his head was returning full force and he feared it was more the absence of the woman's pure scent than the failing of Jinenji's herbs that was the cause.
"Maru?" So much concern was in that one word, his name that he allowed some curiosity to slip into his gaze as he looked up to his brother. There was something warm on his face. He reached to his lip only to see a dark red stain on his fingers. "Maru!" There was a bolt of pain sharper than any he'd felt before stabbing through his head shortly before the world went black.
Flashing lights and sirens passed them as they were driven back to their home from the club. Kagome's eyes widened with faint worry. Rin squeezed Kagome's hand and smiled faintly. "They're going toward the club, Jie-jie, not toward our house."
She nodded and smiled a sad smile. "I hope they're alright, whoever it is."
"What was going on back there, Kagome?" Sango asked softly and noted the quirking frown in her sister's brow.
"There was a youkai… A very powerful youkai in the VIP box watching us from the moment we stepped into the club."
"You mean staring at you." Rin interrupted, earning a pinch from Kagome. "Ouch! It's true, though."
"Miko senses aside, Kagome, how could you be sure he was staring at you?"
She shrugged and closed her eyes before massaging her temples. What is this? I never get headaches… "I just was and am, is all. In any case, it's over now and we need to get back to Chora."
Sango and Rin nodded in response and silence descended onto the car as they were brought back to the silence and tranquility of their home.
Further in the distance, a slender figure stood and watched out her window at the city lights where her sisters were and would be returning from soon. She touched the glass tenuously and trembled before pulling back as fear overtook her. She pressed her eyes closed and then pulled the thick drapes to hide the world from herself. A soft sob escaped her throat and then another until she was weeping and curled in a knot on her bed once more. She missed looking up at the sky and spelling the air. She missed the trees and the ground and the rivers. She missed being outside, but every time she even contemplating leaving the shelter of her home, memory would overtake her along with the overwhelming fear that had taken possession of her soul. Once a day she would pull herself from bed to the piano that her sisters had so lovingly placed in her room. She'd write music for their project. Then she would go back to bed. No matter how much she wanted to go outside, to be free of her fears, there was the other part of her. The part that whispered in the dead of the night when she was most alone that she was not worthy of that kind of life again. Not after what she'd lost. Not after what she couldn't stop… Couldn't save.
There was no life for her. She only endured and sustained herself for them and she knew, one day, even they wouldn't be enough.